It was erected in a prominent position on a rock turned southwards and called “the first stone”. In the same position, there was probably a pre-existing building of the Roman Age.
The first document citing the existence of the castle has its origins in 986 where it is referred as “Castel Lauri”. The building’s history stretches back to over thousands years provided with documentary evidence.
Further written witnesses were found among the registers of the Angevin Chancellery in the inventory of the year 1277 when Margaret de Toucy, who was Charles I of Anjou’s cousin, assumed the custody of the Castle of Lauro “pro habiliora mora”.
Several dominations followed one another: the Princes of Salerno during the Lombard period; the Sanseverino Counts of Caserta during the Norman period; the Balzo Counts of Avellino during the Swabian-Angevin period; the Orsini Counts of Nola during the Aragonese period; in the end, the Pignatellis and Lancellottis.
During the Lancellotti’s domination, the castle was set fire by the French Republicans. Then, it was left abandoned until 1870 when the Prince Don Philip Maximus Lancellotti embarked on the reconstruction of the building.
Today the Lancellotti Castle is one of the most suggestive and visited period residences all over the Region of Campania.
The Library conserves ancient books, including laudable sixteenth century works and plays by Latin authors, from Cicero to Seneca, Horace, Livio and Tacitus. Moreover, there are also many prominent authors of the Classical Italian Literature like Dante, Petrarca and Manzoni.
A dedicated area is reserved to the Pontificial History and the Roman Question of 1870 when the Capital city was invaded by the troupes of Sabaudia. Worth of mention are the impressive leather-bound ledger books reporting the incomes and the expenditure of the family patrimony.
At the entrance of the library, there is the painting in memory of Camillo Maximus, father of Philip.
The Chapel is one of the most important architectural spaces in the castle. Philip Maximus Lancellotti dedicated the chapel to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Philip Neri. He claimed he had built the chapel in the name of the passion for love and salvation of the soul on the 27 Agust 1882. Nevertheless, the reconstruction continued for longer than that date and the campanile was concluded in 1909, according to the date engraved on the flag.
The Chapel is a synthesis of different styles: the Paleo-Christian, the Byzantine, the Romanesque and the Gothic.
The façade consists of a marble protiro splayed with stilofori lions, surmounted by a rose window. On the architrave, there is the representation of the city of Nola protected by St. Felice and Paolino. On the Chapel’s wall, there are representations of Franciscan miracles provided with painted captions.
On the inside of the façade, on the sides of the main door, there are two small holy water fonts recomposed on stilofori lions.
On the walls, there are representations of the construction and the consignment of the Monastery of St. John in Palco in 1936 from Nicolò Orsini, Count of Nola, and the following consecration in 1747.
The vault of the apsidal conch accommodates a painting that recalls an ancient Byzantine-style mosaic. In the middle, Philip Maximus Lancellotti, Elizabeth Aldobrandini and her children stand beside the Christ Pantocrator.