The ruins of the fortified village of Ocre rise above a hill at 933 metres and offer an extraordinary panorama. This castle, situated at the centre of Aterno valley, in medieval times assumed an important strategic position because it could control most of the Aquila basin.
Founded in about the twelfth century and destroyed for the first time in 1280 by the inhabitants of Aquila, it was reconstructed and later conquered by Fortebraccio from Montone in 1424. After changing fortunes the village and the castle, in about the sixteenth century, went into a slow decline. The castle wall, almost entirely preserved, has a nearly triangular plan constructed in limestone with various square towers.
The only entrance is situated on the western side through a pointed-arched doorway dating from the thirteenth century. The north-east side dominates a precipice at the foot of which is the village of Fossa. Inside the fortified wall (not always open to visitors) the old buildings are recognizable even in total ruin. They constituted a true urban centre which included a church.
The convent of Saint Angelo of Ocre is found several kilometres from the village of Fossa, at 757 metres on a cliff facing the valley below. It is in a beautiful position. It was built in 1242 by the Countess Sibilla of Ocre for a community of Benedictine nuns. Later, in 1480, it became a Franciscan monastery and remains so today.
The convent, restored throughout the centuries, has a beautiful, sixteenth century, frescoed cloister and two rows of arcades. The church was fully restored in 1761. A visit to the convent is possible only when accompanied by a monk.
Other places to visit in Ocre are the convent of Santo Spirito of Ocre. Construction began in 1222 and which is now being reconstructed. There is also the church of Saint Maria ad Criptas in Fossa.