The Fortified Castle of Triponzo – The Rocca

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Triponzo – Rocca

The Castle of Triponzo – the Rocca

Distance from the Start:

4.000 m

Distance from the Finish:

1.500 m


Triponzo is an ancient castle dating back to the 13th century with imposing fortifications, built on the confluence of the Nera and Corno rivers, on a porous limestone bank, deeply engraved by the waters at an altitude of 420 m a.s.l. The town developed on the sides of the ancient road coming from Cerreto that today cuts through it, with the houses closely hugging the cliff above the river, dominated by the high square tower of the 14th century that protrudes from the walls.

In the communal period the castle was bitterly disputed above all between Cerreto and Norcia, given its important strategic position.

Its layout as a hill castle, with the watchtower and the defense Rocca at the top and the walled village protected by two doors at the bottom, has been largely altered by the passage of the Valnerina state road and by the modern buildings that have arisen along its way; the whole town was severely damaged by the earthquakes of 1997 and 2016.

Before entering the castle, along a footpath which departs on the right, from the main road just before the tunnel, you will come across a large man-made cut in the cliff, done in Roman times to create the old road, as a rock inscription on site recalls.


The Old “Via Nursina” passing through Triponzo continued on along the Corno valley; here the river has carved out the Mesozoic limestone generating very high cliffs and suggestive gorges, and on the right side, a series of walls and gullies create a chasm of about 730 meters.

The narrowest point is called Balza Tagliata: here, a surprising pre-Roman semi-tunnel was hand-carved into the rock in order to obtain a passageway along the Corno river, and this was the only road to get to Norcia remaining close to the river valley.

In recent times a barrage was also built on the site, to deviate some of the river waters which, through a tunnel dug into the rock on the left side of the cliff, flowed along the Nera valley all the way to Terni where they were used for the operation of the steel mills.

Next to the entrance of the conduit there is a plaque commemorating the workers who died during the excavation work; sadly in those days, lacking any safety protection, the deaths were not few.

The former Spoleto-Norcia railway run along the area of Balza Tagliata as well, passing the gorge through another tunnel carved into the rock.