Giacomo Carroz’s flourishing court
Every place and every story always has a parabolic evolution, with an ascending part, a peak and a descending part. After they settled in Sardinia, confiscated an increasing number of fiefdoms and thus became richer, the peak of the Carroz family was reached in the mid-15th century under Count Giacomo who, among other things, was Viceroy between 1452 and 1454.
When looking at it today, a solitary ruin on the bare top of the limestone hill, it is difficult to think that the castle of San Michele was one of the most refined noble residences on the island, and yet it was.
Under Giacomo Carroz the manor was populated by about a hundred people including family members, dignitaries, knights, servants and slaves. Each member of staff had specific tasks: there was the comprador, in charge of restocking the pantry; the trinxat, i.e. the butcher; the reboster, or pastry chef; cooks; criadas, or maids at the disposal of Violante Centelles, the count’s wife; a tailor and a barber; Saracen slaves for the most humble tasks and, at the head of all the service staff, a butler.
There were many rooms with the most disparate functions: the reception hall, where Giacomo received councilors of the city of Cagliari, vassals, Aragonese officials, notaries and so on; the dining room for large banquets; the armor room; the music room (the count played some string instruments and was gifted with great musical sensitivity); a well-stocked library; a stable with over 100 horses; a weaving room, for the countess’s great passion; a chapel.
The castle was also flanked by several buildings outside its perimeter: a powder magazine, a mill (wheat from the fiefdoms was also exported), lime kilns, rooms for the army and multiple huts that formed an actual village not far from the Castell de Caller.
In short, a whole world we can recall today thanks to a scrupulous inventory drawn up in 1469 when Giacomo died, after a short agony, following a tragic accident.
The count’s death marks the beginning of the descending parable of our castle, while the most significant component of the dynasty enters the scene: the count’s sole heir, his daughter Violante Carroz.
– On the eastern side of the castle, above what must have been the main entrance in the 1400s, there are two sculpted coats of arms: on the left is the Carroz coat of arms, with horizontal bands you must imagine yellow and red; on the right there is a castle with three towers, symbol of the Castle of Cagliari
– The large windows on the towers of the castle were probably opened in the 1400s, when the castle was turned from a military outpost into a refined noble residence
– In Masullas, a small town in the Marmilla area, you can visit “I Cavalieri delle Colline”, a museum that tells the story of the landed aristocracy of Parte Montis, one of the many fiefs of the Carroz family