Medieval castles in Lombardy

Desenzano Castle

The ancient Desenzano castle was originally built around the year 1000. Enlarged at the end of the 15th century, the castle never became a real military fort, but served primarily as a refuge for the population. The plan of the castle is an irregular rectangle, with the tower that stands out at the entrance on the northern side, protecting the drawbridge, which loopholes for the chains are still preserved. The castle is o ...
Founded: c. 1000 | Location: Desenzano del Garda, Italy

Sirmione Castle

Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a stai ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sirmione, Italy

Lierna Castle

Lierna Castle is built on a peninsula that protrudes into the lake Como and consists of a group of connected buildings, rather than a single building. The main portion of the current buildings was constructed in the 10th century in Romanesque style upon former Roman ruins. The castle includes the 11th-century church of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Chiesa dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro), associated with the Order of Saints Ma ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Lierna, Italy

Vezio Castle

Castello di Vezio is a castle located nearby Varenna and Perledo. Characterized in the main tower by square merlons, similar to Cly Castle in Aosta Valley, it commands the Lake Como. It was once connected by walls to the village of Varenna below. The castle was built in the late 11th-early 12th century and was restored several times in the following centuries. In the late 19th century and in 1956 remains of tombs from th ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Varenna, Italy

Baradello Castle

The Castello Baradello is a military fortification located on a 430 m high hill next to the city of Como. The castle occupies the ancient site of Comum Oppidum, the original settlement of Como, dating from the 1st millennium BC. Later it was one of the last Byzantine strongholds in the area, surrendering to the Lombards in 588. The castle was restored during the War of the Lombard League, with the help of emperor Frederi ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Como, Italy

Sforza Castle

Sforza Castle was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Extensively rebuilt by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city"s museums and art collections. History The original construction was ordered by local lord ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Milan, Italy

Abbiategrasso Castle

The Visconti Castle of Abbiategrasso lies on the axis of the Naviglio Grande canal and it was built to protect the waterway to Milan. In the 15th century it was one of the preferred places of residence of the dukes and duchesses of Milan. The castle was probably built at the end of the 13th century on the site of a previous fortification (castro Margazario) near a Benedictine monastery. It was enlarged by Azzone V ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Abbiategrasso, Italy

Legnano Castle

Castello Visconteo in Legnano dates back to the 13th century. The origins of the castle are connected to an ancient convent of Augustinian Regulars, whose presence has been documented since 1231. It has been restored in the 2000s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Legnano, Italy

Borromeo Castle

Borromeo Castle of Peschiera is the oldest possession of the Borromeo family in Lombardy. The family came originally from San Miniato in Tuscany. The Borromeo family became wealthy due their commercial and financial activities abroad. In 1435, Banco Filippo Borromeo & Compagni set up a branch in London. In 1432, Vitaliano Borromeo was granted to fortify Peschiera farmhouse. In the decades of the sixteenth century, t ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Peschiera Borromeo, Italy

San Colombano Castle

San Colombano Castle originates probably from the 6th century AD, but if was mentioned first time in the 10th century. The current castle was built by Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (Federico Barbarossa). During his second visit to Italy, he destroyed the existing castle, but decided to build a new one in 1164. The next reconstruction began in 1370. Later it has been conquered and rebuilt several times.
Founded: 1164 | Location: San Colombano al Lambro, Italy

Trezzo sull'Adda Castle

The Castle of Trezzo sull"Adda is located on a hill within a bend of the Adda river and from this protected on two sides. On the remaining side it is closed by a wall and a 42-meter high tower. Part of the castle was the fortified bridge over the river, destroyed in 1416. The site was inhabited since prehistoric time by Celtic populations and after the VII century hosted a Longobard settlement, which was als ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Trezzo sull'Adda, Italy

Solza Castle

Solza Castle probably dates back to the 10th or 11th century. Here was born the famous condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni. According to tradition, when Bartolomeo Colleoni left Solza Castle, he was between 14 and 15 years old: little more than a boy, even for those times. No-one could have predicted then that he was destined to become one of the most famous condottieri of the fifteenth century. Today the same castle a ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Solza, Italy

Pagazzano Castle

The Castello Visconteo di Pagazzano is a moated, late-medieval castle which originates from the 11th century. It was burned down and 200 inhabitants were killed in a battle in 1353. The castle and the territory of Gera d’Adda, including Pagazzano, was inherited in 1354 by Bernabò Visconti. The territory was disputed over the centuries by surrounding ruling forces, and various Visconti descendants. In the 19th cent ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pagazzano, Italy

Urgnano Castle

Urgnano castle was built in the 14th century to the site of older medieval fort. Throughout history, this Castle belonged to the Republic of Venice and many well-known families, such as Barbarossa, Visconti, Sforza, Malatesta and Colleoni. It was also sold to G. Gerolamo Albani, who became Cardinal Albani in Rome. This castle has been a property of the Municipality since 1953. The castle has a square plan with a tower a ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Urgnano, Italy

Malpaga Castle

An early medieval castle in Malpaga had been in ruins after a raid in the 1440s. In 1456, the condottiero and nobleman Bartolomeo Colleoni acquired the ruined castle from the commune of Bergamo. He enlarged and enriched it not only as a military base for his troops, but also as a seigneurial residence, in the typical Italian Renaissance fashion. The castle layout is square, surrounded by two lines of walls and a ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Malpaga, Italy

San Vigilio Castle

Representing a clearly visible symbol of power, San Vigilio Castle has been the residence of Bergamo’s numerous rulers for centuries. It is located 496 meters above the sea level, on top of the hill that gives it its name, overlooking the Città Alta: that’s why it used to have a strategic role in case of attacks. The circle plan of the building resembles a star, featuring the four towers called Castagneta, Belvedere, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bergamo, Italy

Brescia Castle

Brescia Castle on the rocky hill is the ancient part of Brixia, Roman city established in the 1st century BCE. The castle is called the 'Falcon of Italy' because of its position on the summit of the hill, where it overlooks the city from above. It is one of the largest fortified complexes in Italy with 75,000 square metres enclosed within its surrounding walls. The old Venetian-Visconti stronghold dominates the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Brescia, Italy

St. George Castle

The Castle of St. George (Castello di San Giorgio) was built from 1395 and finished in 1406 under commission by Francesco I Gonzaga, designed by Bartolino da Novara, one of the most renowned military architects of the time. It has as square plan with four corner towers, surrounded by a ditch with three entrances, each one with a drawbridge. In 1459 architect Luca Fancelli, commissioned by marquis Ludovico III Gonzaga ...
Founded: 1395-1406 | Location: Mantua, Italy

Rocca Borromeo di Angera

The Rocca Borromeo di Angera, also called Borromeo Castle, is a castle that stands on a lakeside hilltop in the limits of the town of Angera on the shores of Lago Maggiore. It is visible from across the lake from Arona, where originally stood another castle formerly owned by the Borromeo family. Before 1227, the castle belonged to the Della Torre family, who lost the possession to the Visconti after the Battle of D ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Angera, Italy

Masnago Castle

The oldest part of the Masnago castle is an 11th-century crenellated tower. The current appearance is result of a series of modifications and extensions from the Middle Ages (11th – 13th centuries) to the 18th century, is one of the most important historical buildings in Varese. The main body of the castle dates from the 15th century and gave the castle the appearance of a mansion house, as may be seen from the façad ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Varese, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Bouillon Castle

Bouillon Castle was mentioned first in 988, but there has been a castle on the same site for a much longer time. The castle is situated on a rocky spur of land within a sharp bend of the Semois River.

In 1082, Bouillon Castle was inherited by Godfrey of Bouillon, who sold it to Otbert, Bishop of Liège in order to finance the First Crusade. The castle was later fitted for heavy artillery by Vauban, Louis XIV's military architect in the late 17th century.

The castle is entered over three drawbridges. The main courtyard then leads to the ducal palace with its 13th century Salle Godefroy de Bouillon. From there visitors climb up to the top of the 16th century Tour d’Autriche for a breathtaking panorama of the town and river, before they way back via the torture chamber, citerns and dungeons, and past the 65m deep well Shaft.