Rocca Calascio in Abruzzo, Italy
© Francesco Russo/eStock Phot
A fortress in the sky
Starting life in the 10th century as a lone watchtower high in Italy's Apennine Mountains, the fortress called Rocca Calascio gained more heft over the next few hundred years. Four more towers and heavy walls were gradually added around the original structure. These fortifications made clear that Rocco Calascio was ready for any military rivals who might scale the slopes from the valley below to attack this garrison.
The fight never came. The ruins you see here are not battle scars but the result of powerful earthquakes. By the early 1700s, Rocca Calascio was abandoned, but it can still claim the title of highest fortress in the Apennines - and some of the most spectacular views in Italy. In fact, filmmakers have chosen the site for several movies, including The Name of the Rose and Ladyhawke.