Medieval castles in Liguria

Spotorno Castle

Spotorno Castle was built probably in the 12th century by the Bishopric of Savona. It was destroyed and rebuilt in the wars against Genoa. The current square form dates from the 14th-16th centuries. De Loterio family owned the castle from the 16th century until First World War.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Spotorno, Italy

Castelnuovo Magra Castle

Castelnuovo Magra is mainly known for its ancient castle which was once the capital of the Bishop of Luni"s domain. The castle had been originally built in the 12th century by Bishop Walter and then later completed by Henry of Fucecchio who developed the Code Pelavicino. Quite a lot of changes and additions have been made to the castle over the centuries. Today, visitors can see the remains of the large ancient walls ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castelnuovo Magra, Italy

Pietra di Vobbia Castle

Pietra di Vobbia Castle is a rare example of contamination between the work of men and nature, the Castle of Pietra overlooks the Scrivia Valley. An unconquerable fortress, it is built between two rock towers. Recently restored, you can visit it today in all its ancient charm. Embedded between two rock towers and perfectly integrated with nature, the castle of Pietra di Vobbia has retained the typical atmosphere of the ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Vobbia, Italy

Villafranca Castle

Villafranca Castle was built around 1130 and it was heavily altered in 14th and 15th centuries.
Founded: c. 1130 | Location: Moneglia, Italy

Arcola Castle

Arcola is a small, charming town perched on top of the hills separating the Gulf of La Spezia and the Magra valley offering stunning panoramas of the Apuane Alps. In the 11th century Arcola became an important center for the feudal Obertenghi family who built on top of the hill a castle - Castello degli Obertenghi, of which only its tall pentagonal tower remains. The castle itself had a rich history and had an important ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Arcola, Italy

Chiavari Castle

Chiavari Castle was built after the convention of perpetual league signed on 1138 between Genoa and Fieschi. The construction started on 1140 and finished probably on 1147. It is one of the first castle erected in the Italian Riviera, over a hill dominating and defending a seafaring village, called Clavai, today Chiavari. In 1172 the castle was besieged by Opizzone Malaspina, while in 1278 it fell into the hands of Morue ...
Founded: 1140 | Location: Chiavari, Italy

Gavone Castle

The exact building date of Castel Gavone ('Castrum Govonis'), the former seat of the Del Carretto Marquisses, is still unknown. The castle rises on a huge, steep curvilinear rampart on top of the Becchignolo hill. The castle was allegedly built by Enrico II in 1181 on remains of previous defensive structures. It was certainly fortified in 1292. Destroyed during the struggles with Genoa, it was rebuilt by Giovan ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Finale Ligure, Italy

Millesimo Castle

Millesimo castle was built in the 13th century and a sturdy building still overlooking the town. It was partially demolished in 1553 and suffered damage in 1796 during the war of French and Piedmonte armies.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Millesimo, Italy

Trebiano Castle

Trebiano Castle was documented first in 963 AD. It was built on a roughly square form with four corner towers.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Trebiano Magra, Italy

Campo Ligure Castle

Campo Ligure castle was built in the 12th or 13th centuries and was damaged and rebuilt in several battles. It was enforced by the Spinola family of Genoa since 1309.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Campo Ligure, Italy

Bardineto Castle

Bardineto Castle was probably built by the Marquis Del Carretto in the 13th century. The first document dates from 1268. The castle was demolished in 1795 during the War of the First Coalition (by French Army).
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bardineto, Italy

Senarega Castle

Senarega Castle was built in the 12th century by the Senarega family. It had originally a tower, to which the lower block was added during the 15th century, highlighting the simple square shape of the whole block. On the ground floor there is a large fireplace for heating the room, while on the upper floor there would have been a wooden oven for cooking food, and from here the tower could also be accessed. In additio ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Senarega, Italy

Cairo Montenotte Castle

Cairo Montenotte castle is famous for having been the object of fighting up to the 16th and 17th centuries because of the battles of succession between the Genoese, the French, the Spanish and the Savoys. These battles devastated this region, causing it to be abandoned definitively by the last owners, who preferred to remain in the village.The origins of the castle go back to long ago, more specifically to the period betw ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cairo Montenotte, Italy

Suvero Castle

The castle of Suvero was built in the 12th century by the Malaspinadi Villafranca on a hill overlooking the village. During the 15th century it was assigned to the Campofregoso, after Genoa had conquered the territories of the Malaspina. At the behest of King Louis XII, the Genoese returned it to the original owners. After the death of Spinetta Malaspina, lord of Suvero, it became an independent fief assigned to Rinaldo M ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rocchetta di Vara, Italy

Roccavignale Castle

Roccavignale Castle origin is unknown, but the Rochae Vinealis  was mentioned in 998 AD. The castle was expanded in the 14th century by Carrettesca family. It was burned down in 1799 in the wars between French and Piedmonte armies.
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Roccavignale, Italy

Castel d'Appio

Castel d"Appio is a medieval castle built by the Genoese in the 13th century. It occupies the site of an Roman militarity camp (castrum) and early Ligurian defense post. The castle lost its purpose in the 18th century and was partially demolished. Today parts of walls and towers remain.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ventimiglia, Italy

Savignone Castle

Savignone Castle has a semi-circular great tower and rear rampart, and its position on a conglomerate spur that presents a cliff of 150 metres on one side is its main natural defence. In the 13th century the Fieschis took possession of Savignone and its castle, which only seemed to be lived in during the summer. The fief was certainly a feather in the cap of this lineage because its position in the Scrivia Valley was exce ...
Founded: c. 1207 | Location: Savignone, Italy

Calice al Cornoviglio Castle

Calice al Cornoviglio Castle is situated atop a hill overlooking the village. Founded in the 11th century, the first appearance in historical sources dates from 1206 when an act stated that the bishop of Luniwas to return the property of the castrum calisi (original name of the castle) to Guglielmoand Corrado Malaspina. The castle had belonged to the Malaspina family from the 12th century on, but in the 13th century it w ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Calice Al Cornoviglio, Italy

Madrignano Castle

The first mention of the Madrignano Castle dates back tothe imperial diploma of Frederick Barbarossa of 1162, where it was assigned to Obizzo Malaspina. During the Middle Ages, the village of Madrignano was part of the fief of Caliceal Cornoviglio, until 1400. In 1416 it passed to the Genoese. In 1465, Madrignano and Calice were sold to Tommaso Campofregoso, who in turn sold them to the Marquis Azzone di Mulazzo. Shortly ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Madrignano, Italy

Borgo Fornari Castle

Castle of Ronco Scrivia was built in the 11th-12th centuries and was a former noble residence of the Spinola. Today only a few fragments remain of the original medieval fortress.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Ronco Scrivia, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.