Medieval castles in Trentino

San Giovanni Castle

San Giovanni Castle, located on a high rock spur near Bondone, has a breathtaking panorama. It was first mentioned in 1086 and formally in 1189. In the 15th century the castle was occupied by Milanese troops. The abandoned and decayed castle was bought by entrepreneur Milan Luigi Cavalli in 1956 who began a renovation to turn it into a private residence. Today it can be visited.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bondone, Italy

Castellano Castle

The Castle of Castellano is a fortified manor house built around 1000, located in the village of Castellano, in the municipality of Villa Lagarina. It is one of the most famous castles of Vallagarina, offering a panorama of the entire valley. Owned by numerous noble families, of which the most important was the Lodron, it was later transformed into an Austrian-Hungarian fortress in World War I. It once housed frescoes, ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Castellano, Italy

Vigolo Castle

The castle of Vigolo was erected during the Renaissance in a strategic position over the pass between Vigolana and Marzola, in order to defend the town. The first record of castle dates back to 1214. In 1254 it was besieged and destroyed. In 1424 the castle passed to the family of Murlini and later in 1477 to de Fatis, whose descendants are still the owners. The de Fatis acquired the castle in ruins and rebuilt it almost ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Vigolo Vattaro, Italy

Spine Castle

Spine Castle was built in the late 12th century and destroyed in 1348. In the 16th century the castle ruins was converted into a hunting lodge. In 1933 a serious fire almost led to complete destruction, only the southern buildings were saved while the other wings collapsed and were never rebuilt. Today only part of the castle is habitable while the rest lie to ruins, although impressive. Spine castle is not open to the p ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Comano Terme, Italy

Cles Castle

Isolated on a hummock surrounded by terraced orchards in the artificial basin of Santa Giustina, Cles Castle was built as a fortification to control the Roman road, which used to link the two banks of Stream Noce via a wooden bridge. The original ancient centre was composed of the 'Age-old Tower'. Prince-Bishop Bernardo Clesio had the castle expanded and given a Renaissance style look. At the beginning of the 1 ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Cles, Italy

Caldes Castle

The large five-floor tower house from the 13th century was donated to the Thun family, who incorporated it into a new square building, the current Caldes Castle. The inside is fascinating, with vaulted ceilings, wood panelling and frescoed rooms.  Quite remarkable are the count’s room and the ballroom.  After climbing the tower’s wooden staircase, you enter a room with frescoes all over the walls, telling ancient s ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Caldes, Italy

Rovereto Castle

Castello di Rovereto is one of the best examples of late-Medieval Alpine castles. It was built by the Castelbarco family, near the Leno Torrent, in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the Venetians seized it and transformed it into a military fortress with a defensive function, equipped with four massive bastions. In 1509, following the Venetian defeat, was handed over to the Habsburgs who ruled it until the end of Th ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Rovereto, Italy

Arco Castle Ruins

Arco Castle ruins are located on a prominent spur high above Arco and the Sarca Valley. The exact date of its foundation is unknown but it existed at least after the year 1000 AD. The area around Arco was inhabited already before the Middle Ages, the castle was said to have been built by the citizens and only later becoming the property of the local nobles. The counts of Arco, probably of Italian origin, were first menti ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Arco, Italy

Thun Castle

The monumental Thun Castle was built in the mid-13th century, but the current appearance dates mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish style gate built in 1566 in Moorish style, probably after Giorgio Thun was visited in Spain. The most famous room is the seventeenth-century Bishop's Room, entirely covered of pine wood, with a coffered ceiling and a tiled stove. Today Thun castle is open to the public.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ton, Italy

Ossana Castle

St. Michael castle in Ossana stands on a rocky outcrop. The first written record dates back to 1191. The castle was owned by the Prince Bishops of Trento, Counts of Tyrol-Gorizia, de Federici, Heydorf and Bertelli families. Today is well-preserved with an imposing tower about 25 meters high.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ossana, Italy

Rocca Castle

Rocca, a medieval castle with quadrangular bastions bounded by a canal with drawbridge, was built in 1124. It was the fortress of the noble family Scaligeri, who became the Lords of Verona. It was rebuilt several times and it was used by the Austrians as barracks in the 18th century. It is frequently the seat of cultural activities, especially during the summer months. It hosts the Civic Museum and of the Picture Gallery.
Founded: 1124 | Location: Riva del Garda, Italy

Pergine Castle

Because of its strategic position guarding the Via Claudia Augusta Altinate, Historians use to think Pergine Castle rises on the site of an old prehistoric fortress, which later became a Roman settlement; later on, it was transformed into a Longobard stronghold. Erected in the 13th century, it belonged to the Dukes of Austria, under the reign of Margarete Maultasch, and then to the Emperor Maximilian I. In 1531, it becam ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pergine Valsugana, Italy

Drena Castle

The well-preserved Drena Castle ruins stands on the rock overlooking the deep gorge of the Salagoni River. Built in the 12th century, Drena was probably erected over a prehistoric village. During the Middle Ages, the castle became an important stronghold to control the road connecting Trento and Lake Garda. Unassailable from the flames, the castle is defended by two rows of walls and has been constructed in a dominating ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Drena, Italy

Tenno Castle

The impressive Tenno Castle is embedded into beautiful nature. The small medieval town Frapporta huddles against the castle. It is surrounded by the old city walls and shows how the people I the middle Ages lived in accordance with the nature. After the castle was built by the end of the 12th century it belonged to the community. Later it was passed on to different owners. Due to many fights and sieges the castle was dam ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tenno, Italy

Monreale Castle

Monreale (Königsberg in German) castle in Faedo was built by the Appiano family around 1200. During the centuries, the castle was acquired by the Counts of Tyrol , then by the Habsburgs , in the 17th century by Rubin de Cervin Albrizzi and in the 20th century by entrepreneur Karl Schmid. Today it is privately owned.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Faedo, Italy

Segonzano Castle

The Castle of Segonzano was built in the 13th century on a rock spur, around 100 meters above the valley. The place where it"s placed was probably the site of a prehistoric hillfort. Built by Rodolfo Scancio, on the authority of the Prince-Bishop of Trento, Federico Vanga, the castle served as an important fortified site guarding the trade route passing through the Adige Valley and across the Cantilaga bridge on the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Segonzano, Italy

Buonconsiglio Castle

Buonconsiglio Castle was originated from a fortified building was erected in the 13th century next to the city's walls. This first building was called Castelvecchio ('Old Castle'), and was the seat of the Bishopric of Trent from the 13th century onwards to the end of the 18th century. The castle is composed of a series of buildings of different eras, enclosed by a circle of walls in a slightly elevated position above the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Trento, Italy

Nanno Castle

Nanno Castle wass mentioned first time in 1264. The current appearance dates mainly from the restoration made between 1520-1530. The square building is surrounded with a wall and thtree turrets. Today Nanno castle is privately owned and not open to the public.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nanno, Italy

Stenico Castle

A seat of power built on a spur overlooking the roads of communication towards the Valli Giudicarie, Stenico Castle dates back to more than 2000 years. It was first built as a refuge for the Stoni - a proud Alpine population exterminated by the Romans - from which the town takes its name. The castle history is closely tied to the Prince-Bishops of Trento, who also used to administer justice. Legend has it that prisoners ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stenico, Italy

Avio Castle

The Castle of Avio (also known as Castle of Sabbionara) is one of the several castles commanding the Vallagarina valley of the Adige River. The castle is mentioned for the first time in a 1053 document as Castellum Ava. In the 12th century it was owned by the Castelbarco family, who ceded it to the Republic of Venice in 1411. The latter enlarged it and added a chapel dedicated to St. George, together with a façade showi ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Avio, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Barnenez Cairn

The Cairn of Barnenez is the largest Megalithic mausoleum in Europe. It dates from the early Neolithic Age is considered one of the earliest megalithic monuments in Europe. It is also remarkable for the presence of megalithic art. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the first phase of the monument was erected between 4850 and 4250 BC, and the second phase between 4450 and 4000 BC. Pottery found in and around the monument indicates that it underwent a period of reuse in the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC.

The cairn was first mapped in 1807, in the context of the Napoleonic cadaster. Its first scientific recognition took place in the context of an academic congress in Morlaix in 1850, when it was classified as a tumulus. Privately owned until the 1950s, the cairn was used as a quarry for paving stones. This activity, which threatened to destroy the monument, was only halted after the discovery of several of its chambers in the 1950s. The local community then took control of the site. The cairn was restored between 1954 and 1968. At the same time, vegetation was removed from the mound and systematic excavation took place in and around the monument.

Today, the Barnenez cairn is 72 m long, up to 25 m wide and over 8 m high. It is built of 13,000 to 14,000 tons of stone. It contains 11 chambers entered by separate passages. The mound has steep facades and a stepped profile. Several internal walls either represent earlier facades or served the stability of the structure. The cairn consists of relatively small blocks of stone, with only the chambers being truly megalithic in character. The monument overlooks the Bay of Morlaix, probably a fertile coastal plain at the time of its erection.

Engraved symbols occur in several of the chambers and passages. They depict bows, axes, wave symbols or snakes and a repeated U-shaped sign. One of the carved slabs is in secondary use was originally part of a different structure, an interesting parallel to the situation in several other such monuments, including Gavrinis. The symbols on the engraved blocks resemble those found in other megalithic monuments in Brittany; in broader terms they belong to the cultural phenomenon described as megalithic art. One of the recurring symbols is sometimes interpreted as an anthropomorphic depiction (the so-called \'Dolmen Goddess\').

An exhibition in the modern entrance building explains the results of scientific excavation and displays some objects from the site.