Medieval castles in Lombardy

Cuasso Castle Ruins

Known as Castelasc in Lombard local language, the Castle of Cuasso is one of the most important defensive buildings in the province of Varese and Insubria. Founded in medieval times, it stands upon a hill which gives name to the whole city of Cuasso al Monte. Nowadays only ruins remain of the ancient structure. Due to the lack of written sources, the history of the castle is still, in some respects, mysterious. T ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Cuasso al Monte, Italy

Orino Castle

Rocca di Orino lies on a rocky spur. The first record dates from 1176, however some fortifications were there already in the Roman ages. The castle was a military stronghold in the struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines during the thirteenth century until the victory of the Ghibellines. After the Duchy of Milan was created, the castle lost its purpose. It gradually fell into disrepair.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Orino, 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

Grumello Castle

Grumello Castle was built in the 13th century to a steep slope. It had two separate buildings, joined by a wall which has almost completely lost. The castle was destroyed in 1512.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Montagna in Valtellina, 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

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

Somasca Castle

Castello dell’Innominato ('the unnamed castle') history dates back to the Carolingian period. At that time on the hill of Somasca, the upper district of Vercurago, there was a signalling tower, that became a fortress some centuries later (documented in 1158). From 1454 this land felt into the clutches of the Republic of Venice and the Adda River became the natural border between the Serenissima (Venice ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lecco, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.