Medieval castles in Aosta Valley

Saint Germain Castle

Saint Germain castle in Montjovet played an important part in the history of Val d’Aosta. Few traces remain of its original structure and its construction date is not known for certain. At the end of the 13th century, the Savoy became the owners, replacing the Montjovet family. As already happened in Bard, in this case too, the pretext was provided by the abuse of power that Feidino Montjovet acted on villagers and wa ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Montjovet, Italy

La Tour de Villa Castle

Originally, La Tour de Villa castle was comprised almost entirely of the central tower. The restoration works did not re-build the western part and the northern part, leaving instead a beautiful court yard with views over the plain. Today, the complex is made up of two well-distinct parts: one part is the 12th century tower and the other inhabited part is a semi-circular structure which dates back to the 15th century. T ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gressan, Italy

La Mothe Castle

Perched on top of the hill, La Mothe Castle dominates the village of Arvier. Unfortunately only the four sided tower remains intact, while the ruins of the round tower and the perimeter wall are still visible. From its current appearance, construction of the castle is estimated as being between the end of the 12th and the start of the 13th century, with important modifications in the 15th century. It was first mentioned i ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Arvier, Italy

Arnad Upper Castle

The upper castle of Arnad is mentioned first time in a papal letter in 1207, but there is no information about its origins or first owners. It was probably built by Saverio di Arnad in the late 12th or early 13th century. The next owners, Vallaise family, lived in the castle throughout the 14th century. Due to the inadequacy of the structure and the lost military function, the castle was abandoned in the 15th century. T ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Arnad, Italy

Graines Castle

Graines castle occupies the summit of a rocky spur which commands Brusson and most of the Val d"Ayas. In medieval times, it communicated through flag or mirror messages with the nearby Bonot Tower and the Villa Castle in Challand-Saint-Victor. The fief of Graines is documented since 515, when King Sigismund of Burgundy donated it to the newly formed Abbey of St. Maurice. The castle was perhaps built in the 11th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Brusson, Italy

Montmayeur Castle

Montmayeur Castle was built in 1271 by Anselmo and Aimone D´Avise on a steep promontory over the orographic right bank of the Dora Valgrisenche, in a position dominating the entrance to the valley of the same name. Today it is reduce to ruins, but preserves the cylindrical tower, crowned with beautiful swallowtail battlements. It is still possible to see the remains of the ancient castle and the boundary wall. Access i ...
Founded: 1271 | Location: Arvier, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.

As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.

The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.