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The Gabella gate in Ripa Teatina: lighting the past and the present

26 May 2023

Perched high on the hills of Abruzzo, Ripa Teatina is a beautiful town in the province of Chieti. The traces it contains of an ancient civilization draw in visitors, taking them on a fascinating journey into the past. The town is surrounded by rolling hills and broad valleys entirely carpeted in the typical crops of central Italy, in particular vineyards and olive groves. It was here that the Marrucini, an ancient Osco-Umbrian-speaking Italic people, established their first settlements. During this period of its history, because its elevated position made it a very useful strategic outpost, the town formed part of the first defences for the city of Chieti. Access to the town was through two large gates flanked by another, cylindrical watchtower. This entrance was demolished during World War II, leaving an urban void and a disconnect between the defensive structures and the town centre.

The cylindrical tower, the torre di Porta Gabella, was successfully reconstructed in its original form by Rocco Valentini Architecture thanks to the existence of plans and historical photographs, and the reconstruction stands in the place of the wide staircase that first replaced the tower. According to the architects, the main goal was to “sew together the urban fabric with a multifunctional structure”, connecting the various spaces with the pedestrian alleyways of the historic centre and creating something that is able to be transformed into an outdoor stage for musical and artistic performances.

The lighting design, which involves the use of products from L&L Luce&Light, uses a soft, delicate light to highlight the “past and the present” – the mediaeval tower and the new structure in cor-ten. To light the outer gates, SPOT 2.4 outdoor projectors, 3000K, 8W, 20° optics, were used in an anthracite finish obtained through multiple treatment and painting steps designed to give effective resistance to corrosion and weathering.

The projectors were positioned at the top of the structure to provide functional light and illuminate the building from top to bottom. Contrasting with the projectors, BRIGHT 5.F outdoor recessed fixtures, 3000K, CRI >90, 19W, narrow 10° optics, with trim in AISI 316L stainless steel, were installed at the base of the tower to give depth to the site. They emphasise both the soft, curved lines of the construction and the solid materiality of the tower itself.


Project: Torre Porta Gabella

Location: Ripa Teatina, Chieti (Abruzzo)

Architects: Rocco Valentini Architecture

Completion Year: 2022

Photocredits: Rocco Valentini


L&L Luce&Light is an Italian company that specialises in the design and production of lighting systems using LED technology for indoor and outdoor applications. Internationally renowned and respected in the lighting design sector, L&L has realised many exceptional projects around the world. Among the company’s main strengths are the high quality and reliability of its products, which are entirely developed and produced in its factory in Vicenza. L&L also pays special attention to the sourcing of its materials, in order to retain the core value on which its operation is based: products that are Made in Italy.

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