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

Cesis Castle

German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.

In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).

In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.

Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.