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The Mastio and its ruins
The highest tower in a fortress was named Mastio (donjon). It had the function to sight the enemy from a long distance. The original tower of the fortress of Urbisaglia was higher than the present one.
The entrance was placed on different levels to make it more difficult to enter into the tower, which occurred through a wooden stair to be withdrawn in case of danger.
The mastio was built before the fortress
wall and constituted the main tower of the castle originally
occupying that site. The mastio, probably divided in four floors
(its later use as an aqueduct changed the inside structure),
served as a lodging to the castellan and the garrison, or at
least to the officers.
That is why it was provided with a chimney. Beside, it served as a store for food-supplies. It is obvious to think that there was an underground passage which allowed to evacuate the fortress( or simply to supply it with food) in case of a siege.
The base of the tower seems to be part of an older building in comparison with its upper part which is provided with a jutting out parapet crowned by ghibelline merlons.
A drawing picturing Urbisaglia from the high in the seventeenth century shows that the upper part of the tower was covered by a sloping roof. This easied the watch functions and the operation of defence and command carried on the top of the tower (bastion).
Infact, shielded by the merlons (some of which were provided with loophols for muskets) and through the embrasures (but also through the machicolations) they could execute direct shots against the besiegers and against those who tried to climb the tower. Then, from the loopholes or the machicolations they could shoot from the top and at the same time they could defend themselves by throwing things down onto the enemies.
Each side of the crenellated parapet is furnished with two loopholes for muskets on the merlons and with two embrasures. Leaning against the north-eastern and south-eastern sides of the mastio you can see a cistern and some ruins of what was the body of the older castle, probably built on a hill and later incorporated by the fortress. Instead of completely destroyng what remained of the previous building, they chose to keep some sections of it. These were probably employed for logistical functions such as a deposit for the gunpowder.HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 00:00:37 GMT IISExport: This web site was exported using IIS Export v3.0 X-Powered-By: ASP.NET Content-Type: text/html