The decorated and painted wooden ceilings of the two representative rooms of the Governor's residence

In the rooms adjacent to the big open-gallery of the first floor of the principal part of the Castle, connected to the great staircase of honour and originally destined as the Governor’s residence, the sixth and the seventh rooms, were probably set up for official functions, considering that all the other rooms, with a vault covering, were not decorated but were adorned with false painted wooden ceilings.
The first one, in the sixth room, is divided into twenty-five squares with thick frames of various shapes, octagonal, rectangular, elliptical and mixtilinear.  In the centre, there is the coat of arms of the “Casa d’Austria” with the two-headed eagle and the emblem of the dominions of the Empire, enriched by the collar of the Order of Chivalry of the Toson d’Oro, established by Filippo di Buono duke of Borgogna in 1429 and purchased by the Hansburg in 1477.

The portrayal of the columns of Hercules with the motto plus ultra and the one of the “acciarini del Collare” in the shape of a B, the initial of Borgogna, are depicted with such insistence and in such an elevated number which may allude to the number of the knights who were granted the title of Toson d’Oro which was increased from 31 to 51 by Carlo V himself.
The principal subject of the decoration, described in seventeen squares, derives from the well-known fairy tale of Amore e Psiche which Apuleio inserted between the end of the IV book and the beginning of the VI book of the well-known literary work Le metamorfisi, also known as L’asino d’oro, which became one of the favourite themes of the Neoplatonists, being that it was acknowleged by Christianity as an allegory of the soul which, through every sort of tribulation, finally finds the beatitude in the union with God; present from the early Christian funerary art, the myth was taken up again with enthusiasm at the beginning of the XVI century, beginning with the famous pictorial cycles of  Raffaello to the Farnesina and of Giulio Romano at the Palazzo Te of Mantova.

In the umpteenth panel, the Ratto di Ganimede is portrayed, isolated.   It was an allegoric theme which was widespread among the writings of Leone Ebreo, Bembo, Castiglione, and others, putting themselves in relation to the Neoplatonic theory of Marsilio Ficino, of intense love like a desire of beauty which comes at the contemplative moment of ecstasy.
In a print of Giulio Bonasone, the same iconographic model is found, in which the personage, depicted nude and gripped by the eagles claws, alludes to the fury of the soul which contemplates the divinity, while the version with the clothed and unclutched Ganimede, also referred to by Bonasone, alludes to the beatitude of the amorous ecstasy, as a contemplative state.
Six female figures complete the decorations, allegories of Fortune, in which the motif of the sphere recurs, full of symbolic significance, and the emblems of the victory, the laurel, the palm, the trophies.  The surfaces between the squares have a grottesque decoration.
In the seventh room, the second ceiling presents a  more regular and thicker lacunar ceiling due to the bigger dimensions of the massive framings, while in the other there is a different decorative concept, lighter and more sophisticated.  The seven Virtu Teologali boarded by seventeen hexagonal tiles, with a series of portrayals of famous Roman emperors, Caesar, Octavian, Claudius, Tiberio, Titus, almost all who had inscribed the respective denomination.  There are two among the ones without any inscriptions, which, for the particular expressive strength, seem to refer to living personages identifiable probably to Carlo V and Filippo II, having to do with a bearded head, crowned with laurel, and of another one, also bearded, but younger, the only one depicted in three quarters while all the others are portrayed by profile.
The knotted crossed canes motif of Borgogna assumes a noteworthy relief and is repeated in all the remaining “specchiature” (= surface defined by frames).  The support of both ceilings is made up of a series of beams, fixed in the wall, which sustain a boarding poplar axis, on which the frames were put, treated with a golden and burnished metal leaf.  The restoration carried out in 1994 gave the possibility for a more direct and mediate approach to the works and it consented to recuperate, as much as possible, the original aspect favouring a better understanding of the artistic and historic value which are expressed, so as to provoke a motivated interest in favour of a research which redeems them from the general assignation to the great and distinct sea of the productions of a Raphaelesque derivation.
The two ceilings have been substantially ignored up to now, apart from the synthetic description uncritically provided by Eberhardt, in his fundamental monograph on the Castle of L’Aquila (Castello dell’Aquila), and the fleeting citation by Serra who, in 1929, considered them similar to the ceilings of Palazzo Fibbioni in L’Aquila, regarding all of them of an ambiguous aspect however noteworthy.
It should be emphasized like Serra, in that circumstance, inverted the dating, considering the ceilings of the Castle of the second half and those of  Palazzo Fibbioni of the first half of the 16th century even if these last one, moreover comparable also as structure and other similar productions from L’Aquila, such as the ceilings of  Palazzo Branconio,  are clearly ascribable to the generation which followed of the well-known Raphaelesque circle of L’Aquila formed by Mausonio, Cardone and others, who were all active, precisely, in the second half of the century.
At a careful examination, one must keep in due account the level of quite serious impoverishment, and for some passages, of an almost total loss of the original value of the paintings, due to the fragility of the pictorial film;  moreover the nature itself of the pictorial ductus used by the unknown artist must be interpreted correctly, quick and cursive which seems to feign in the rapid passages and in the drafting of the colour with strong contrasts, a sort of unconventional bravado but with results with a grandeur, which however should appear, to an observer who is not very careful, or inexpert, the result of an approximatin or a lack of resources.  
At this point, one cannot help appreciating the nobility of the proportions of each slender female figure, such as the one of Pallade Atena with a shield and helmet; the fresh, natural narrative vein which goes through the scenes with the fairy tale of Amore e Psiche; the compositive firmness of the figure of the Virtu’; the good level of characterization of the portraits.  Also noteworthy are the pleasant naturalism of the presumed Fillippo II and the effective characterization of the eagle of the Ratto di Ganimede, also the imperial coat of arms, which recalls the eagle of the fastigium of the portal.
The very agile a grottesche decorations of the sixth room are even more pleasant.  They make up a significant element on some ceilings, for an interpretation of the Raphaelesque lesson which is very free and extrovert.
For a first definition of the area with a congenial reference to the unknown artist of the ceilings, it is not possible not to reveal how the particular qualities are deduced from the stylistic analysis of the paintings, all of which are imprinted to the imaginative vitality of an agile and quick pictorial style, but strongly expressive, seem to relate it to the one which has been defined in the Raphaelesque style, as an anticlassic tendency concentrated in the figures of Francesco Salviati and of Perino del Vaga and the ones to which the Spanish Machuca and, then, Roviale became associated to.
And we cannot help revealing the Neopolitan characters which seem to appear, for typological and compositive affinity, from the comparison between the figurations of the ceilings and the ones painted by Roviale in Naples in 1548 in the chapel of the Sommaria in Castel Capuano, transformed by Pedro of Toledo in the new seat of the law courts.  
 Roviale arrived in Rome in 1543.  Called upon by Vasari among the young men who assisted in carrying out some frescoes for the palazzo della Cancelleria, in a distinct position, “si fecero assai pratichi in quest’opera Bizzera e Rovinale Spagnolo che assai vi lavorarono con esso meco”, is defined as a disciple of Francesco Salvati who he had frequented just in time before leaving for Venice, to paint the ceilings of  Palazzo Grimani with figurettes and classic motifs.
In 1548-1549, after the first Roman ordeal, Roviale went to Naples where he worked following Pedro di Toledo, obtaining various and noteworthy commissions ( he also carried out a banner for the captain ship of the Spanish fleet), where the demanding and prestigious work of the Sommaria distincts itself, where he carried out frescoes, plasters and an altar piece which has the portrayal of the Castel S.Elmo in the background, which had just been rebuilt by Scriva’ and by Pietro de Prada.
A decorative ornament which finds its strength in the well-proven combination of various techniques, correlating with the Vasarian model, experimented in Naples in the refectory of Monteoliveto, of which the Sommaria represents a close filiation.  Moreover, Vasari probably referred to it in the self-commemorative passage of the Vite in which he mentions many beautiful plaster works and floral paintings in Naples after his arrival.  Roviale’s Neopolitan activity is ascertained up to 1551-1552; then he had to return to Rome, where he is once again active in 1556.

The stylistic contents of the paintings of the ceilings experience such a cultural climate and are chronologically placed between 1549 and 1554, since they are not mentioned in the accounts book edited during the erection works of the Castle, stopped in February 1549; the coat of arms of Carlo V complete with the Toson d’Oro and the portraits of the emperor and of the designated heir are depicted in them, still without the symbols of  power; from this it is deduced that the realization came about in years prior to 1554, in which Prince Filippo was crowned king of Naples and Carlo V gave up the supreme dignity of Gran Maestro of the Order of the Toson d’ Oro.