Medieval castles in Lombardy

Villimpenta Castle

Villimpenta Castle was built in the 11th century asa fortified monastery. It was restored and strenghtened in the 14th century by Scaligeri family. Today towers and curtain walls exist.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Villimpenta, 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

Masegra Castle

The imposing Masegra Castle was built in the Middle Ages and strategically positioned at the opening of the Valmalenco valley so it could easily control the access to the valley. Since it was the property of the influential Salis family, it is the only castle in the town of Sondrio which wasn’t destroyed by the Grisons during their invasion of Valtellina in the 16th century. As time went by, the castle lost its orig ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sondrio, 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

Belgioioso Castle

Belgioioso is noted for its medieval castle, the seat of the Belgiojoso family.  It is believed to have been the initiative of Galeazzo II, who had it built on the extensive landholdings of the Visconti family in the second half of the 14th century. Francis I of France was held there after the Battle of Pavia. This historic monument now offers a stunning setting for public and private events, including weddings and comp ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Belgioioso, Italy

Cassano d'Adda Castle

The Visconti Castle is a castle of Middle Age origin located in Cassano d"Adda. It received the current form in the 14th century, when Bernabò Visconti, lord of Milan, enlarged the existing fortification as part of a defensive system of the Visconti dominions on the Adda river. At the end of the 20th century, after a period of abandonment, it was restored and transformed into a hotel. A castle in the area is suppos ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cassano d'Adda, Italy

Corenno Plinio Castle

The castle of Corenno Plinio is today one of the best preserved castles in Lombardy. Built between 1363 and 1370 on ancient Roman ruins, by will of Andreani’s family, it has a square shape, even if irregular, and two towers: a square one dated back to the 11th century and a C shape one at the castle’s entrance in Piazza Garibaldi. Piazza Garibaldi, with its pebble floor, lets you breathe the medieval past of Cor ...
Founded: 1363-1370 | Location: Dervio, Italy

Malaspina Castle

The medieval town of Varzi is home to a castle built by the Malaspina family in 1164 after inheriting from Frederick Barbarossa the territory from the Rivanazzano Hills to Oramala. The structure is currently owned by the Counts of Odetti di Marcorengo, who in 1983 embarked on a redevelopment process that ended only three years ago, in order to give this gem of architecture back to the community, opening it up to the publi ...
Founded: 1164 | Location: Varzi, Italy

Rezzonico Castle

The Castle of Rezzonico is the concrete sign of the fortified village of Rezzonico that overlooks Lake Como. Built in the fourteenth century (1363) by the Counts Della Torre, the Castle of Rezzonico is similar for the type to the castle of Corenno Plinio in the town of Dervio.The castle covers an area of ​​about two thousand square meters and within its walls there were houses and the main tower. It was no ...
Founded: 1363 | Location: Santa Maria Rezzonico, Italy

Padenghe Castle

Padenghe Castle is situated on a hill from where it enjoys a beautiful panorama, has retained its original structure built between the 9th and 10th century on the ruins of fortifications of Roman times. What we can now admire is a reconstruction of the 13th and the 14th century. At the time, the castle was surrounded by a moat, and in it there were houses on three parallel rows, built with the walls. In 1154 it was recogn ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Padenghe Sul Garda, Italy

Breno Castle

The Breno castle rises on a hill overlooking the town: the building was erected in the 12th century, then turned into a military stronghold at the time of the Venetian Republic (1400-1500) and finally, after being abandoned in 1598, it was reused as a stone quarry. The castle however rises on a much more ancient site: probably the place where in the 10th-9th century BCE a prehistoric community settled. You can reach the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Breno, Italy

Cusago Castle

The Visconti Castle in Cusago was built in the 14th century by Bernabò Visconti and used as a hunting lodge by the Visconti family, lords and dukes of Milan. The castle underwent significant changes in the Renaissance period. Today it is in a state of abandonment. The castle of Cusago had been attended since 1369 by the court of Bernabò Visconti and after his removal from power in 1385 by his nephew Gian Galeazzo. Bet ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cusago, Italy

Volta Mantovana Castle

Volta Mantovana Castle was mentioned in a deed of donation of the same to the bishop of Mantua by Beatrice Canossa in 1055. From other documents of the time, we learn that the fortification consisted of two parts, one inside and one outside the castle keep and oval , composed by a wall of pebbles and bricks about five meters high, this opened some gates and was surrounded by a moat. From the 11th to the 14th century it w ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Volta Mantovana, Italy

Padernello Castle

The imposing residential castle of Padernello was built between the 15th and 16th centuries by the noble Martinengo family. Surrounded by countryside, in between fields, with a moat that protected it from assaults and various dangers, it is the noble element of a splendid rural village, with its large, elegant internal courtyards. Old houses-workshops with their traditional entrances can still be seen in the village cen ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Padernello, 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

Zavattarello Castle

The main sights of Zavattarello is the castle, also known as Castello Del Verme, which overlooks the town. It was built in the 10th century and was owned by Dal Verme family from 1390 until 1975. Outside it is majestic and surrounded by a wide park. The view from its terraces is breathtaking, from which you can see the Alpine Garden of Pietra Corva, that has very peculiar plants. Now in the castle there is also a museu ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Zavattarello, Italy

Sant'Angelo Lodigiano Castle

Built in the 13th century on the shores of the river Lambro, it lost its military importance due to changing alliances and was converted into a noble residence in 1383 on the orders of Regina della Scala, wife of Bernabò Visconti, who had the main tower erected and mullioned windows installed along the walls. After changing hands many times it was acquired by the Bolognini family who, in 1933, entrusted it to the Morand ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Sant'Angelo Lodigiano, Italy

Ponti sul Mincio Castle

Ponti sul Mincio Castle was built in the 13th century on a moraine rock hilltop with an irregular plan, longer than it is wide, with five towers the main of which looking south east over the Mincio river. The masonry is built of river pebbles, stones and bricks. Following repetitive collapse of the western perimeter wall, diagnosis was carried out and a plan drawn up and executed for the restoration of the wall. The proj ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ponti Sul Mincio, 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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.