Carcassonne is a fortified French town in the Aude department, of which it is theprefecture, in the former province of Languedoc.
It is divided into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. Carcassone was founded by the Visigothsin the fifth century, though the Romans had fortified the settlement earlier. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. The folk etymology – involving achâtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sona") – though memorialized in a neo-Gothics culpture of Mme. Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate, is of modern invention. The name can be derived as a hyperbole of the name Carcas. Similarly in the Italian language, there are derived names like Castellino (little castle) – Castello – Castellone (big castle), or Ombrellino (small umbrella) – Ombrello – Ombrellone (large umbrella). A double 's' in the name appears for phonetic reasons, otherwise as a self standing 's' it would be pronounced as 'z'