The medieval Speronella Castle, probably built in the XI century and now in ruins, stands on the hilltop of Rocca Pendice, in the municipality of Teolo. All that remains today of the structures of the castle is ruins swallowed by vegetation; between them it is possible to recognize the remains of a tower, some buildings and a low wall. The building is documented since the XI century, when it was the stronghold of the Paduan episcopate against the Counts of Castelnovo (today Castelnuovo). Given the location on top of an inaccessible hill, the castle never had a real town around it, but – as shown from documents of the twelfth century – it exercised its jurisdiction over the inhabitants of the villages of Luvigliano and Teolo: they provided guard services and in return had the right to take refuge in the castle whenever the situation required. The castle is mentioned again in a document of 1356, where the presence of the notary Jacopo Navari is reported; we also know that between 1318 and 1405, the “Castrum Pendice” was the seat of a military garrison at the service of the Carrara family, lords of Padua, whose symbol is carved on the front of a trachyte mass, visible near the ruins of the castle. The garrison was dismantled by the Venetians in 1405, after the conquest of the territory of Padua. Lost its original military function, the castle was transformed into a noble residence, a countryside holiday house of the Paduan family Dondi dell’Orologio, and later completely abandoned.
The legend of Speronella.
According to the legend, in 1166 Count Pagano della Torre, vicar of Federico Barbarossa, fell in love with Speronella, a sensual beauty from Padua betrothed to Iacopino da Carrara. Having kidnapped her, he locked her away in the Roccapendice Fort and convinced her father to allow him to marry her instead. But the Paduan noblemen, led by Iacopino managed to fight their way into the castle, killing Pagano and freeing Speronella. According to historic fact, however, as told by the judge Manfredino di Ugone, Count Pagano was in fact just one of Speronella’s six husbands, to be exact the second, after she had left her first husband, Iacopino da Carrara, in her conceited determination to marry the imperial vicar.