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History of Petroia Castle

 

The origins of the Castle of Petroia are to be found between the IX and X century, when free City States like Gubbio built fortifications and castles to protect their towns and territories.

The Castle of Petroia already existed in the year 1073, when it was mentioned in an old document as part of a donation: " mansum in curte Petroij". A legal document dated 1171 confirms the existence of “Curtis Petroij” and shortly afterwards on the 7th of May 1257 the Castle of Petroia was submitted to Ugolino, count of Coccorano.

On the 24th of March 1384 Count Antonio from Montefeltro occupied Gubbio and became the Lord of the city. Gubbio’s existence as a free City State thus ended and for many centuries the town was part of the Dukedom of Urbino and the Castle of Petroia became linked to the Montefeltro family. 

The main historical date for the Castle of Petroia is on the 7th of June 1422, when the young Elisabetta of Accomandugi, daughter of Guidopaolo and niece of Matteo, gave birth to Federico da Montefeltro, who later became the famous Duke of Urbino.

Elisabetta, who was a lady-in-waiting to Rengarda (the Duchesse of Urbino), had a son from an adulterous affair with Rengarda's husband, Guidantonio from Montefeltro (the Duke of Urbino).

Thus the severe walls of Petroia saw the beginning of the fascinating life of a man who played an important role in the XV century and the Italian Renaissance.

The Castle of Petroia changed hands many times over the centuries, and was owned and lived in by many different families:  

  • On the 5th of September 1396 the Count Galasso from Montefeltro bought the Castle and the lands of Petroia.
  • On the 14th of April 1414, Matteo of Accomandugi of Urbino purchased Petroia. 
  • In 1458 Elisabetta inherited freehold estate, and feudal titles were given to Ugolino of Bardi. These titles stayed in the family for three generations. 
  • In 1487 Guidubaldo from Montefeltro gave the castle and its land to Alessandro Reggeri di Canossa. The property stayed with this family for 4 generations (after Alessandro, came his son Bonifacio, then his grandson Orazio, and then his great granddaughter Camilla). 
  • In 1617 Camilla di Canossa, who had no children, donated the Castle to the Monte di Pietà of Reggio Emilia (a charity). 
  • On the 8th of May 1629 the Monte di Pietà sold the Castle to the Ugolini family of Gubbio for 6.200 scudi. 
  • From 1823 the Castle and its lands belonged to the Benvenduti family of Gubbio.   
  • In 1925 (on Good Friday) the Castle and all its land were bought by David Sagrini. This family still owns the property.