Articles

HISTORY OF THE BUILDING

“PALAZZO DE CASTRO OF THE COUNTS OF LEMOS” (18th century)

“From Naples to Squinzano, short was the road that led the Spanish nobility down here, where the five towers were factories that produced benefits for both, including those who sweltered”

Monforte de Lemos, a Spanish city and capital of the area known as Ribeira Sacra. It is in these lands that the noble ancestry of the De Castros originated, lords of the county of Lemos who came to Italy in July 1599 attached to the suite of Fernando Ruiz De Castro, 6th count of Lemos. The latter was appointed Viceroy of Naples by the King of Spain, Philip III of the House of Habsburg, who ordered him to build the Royal Palace of Naples ; these details are confirmed by Leonardo de Argensola, a Spanish poet of Italian descent, and by his brother Bartolome Juan, priest and court chaplain. A sculptured representation of the symbolic coat of arms, the FIVE TOWERS, can be found in the vestibule of this residence and above the entrance to the family tomb, dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, situated on the “Perlangeli” Estate. Forefather of the family in Squinzano was the physicist Consalvo, her eldest son Francesco Saverio , who was also Lord Mayor many times, initially resided in a street called “Liane Vecchio” (near the square); he had the remarkable family estate built by the architect G. Miglietta in 1795, a date which is confirmed by the inscription at the end of the grand staircase (DEO AUSPICE ERETUM A.D. MDCCLXXXXV). The building occupies the whole area comprised between the old street of San Leonardo, now known as Via Matteotti, and the road running along “la chiazza te lu Vancu” – “piazza del sedile”; above the main gate there is the inscription DC (De Castro), and it is believed that within the area there was a small hamlet or maybe a fortified tower enclosed within the present building. The Spanish domination brought both aristocracy and popular classes to Italy donating to the former bigger landed estates, and to the latter the opportunity to integrate and to go up the socio-economic ladder in order to reach noteworthy levels (the “de la Mancha”, who settled in Squinzano in the 16th century, are plausible examples). Both descendants of noble families and common people to whom place names have been entitled all recognized the tip of the pyramid in the coat of arms of the De Castro, a family which had assiduous contacts with religious and civil institutions in the Otranto Land.

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Palazzo De Castro - Piazza Plebiscito 9, 73018 Squinzano LE