Medieval castles in Trentino

Telvana Castle

The origins of Telvana Castle date back to the Roman age. According to documents the castle was destroyed by the Franks in 590 A.D. while other sources speak of this event in late Medieval times. The primitive core of the castle, dating probably from the 13th century, was built around a single square watchtower, 5 m per side and reaching a height of 26 m. In 1665 it was burned down and was then re-built as a baron"s ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Borgo Valsugana, Italy

Madruzzo Castle

Madruzzo castle dates from the 12th century.  The castle was set on fire and almost completely destroyed in 1703 during the War of Spanish Succession.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Lasino, 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

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

Valer Castle

Castel Valer is situated near Tassullo in a panoramic position, encircled by hills, which are covered by orchards, and it excels for its faultless elegance. The first document of castle dates back to 1211, when it was a property of the Counts Appiano and it was used as military guard post. It was sold to the Coredo’s and to Sporo’s in 1368, who are still the owners. The tower is 40 metres high. It has an octagonal p ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Tassullo, 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

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

Belasi Castle

Belasi Castle was probably built during the 12th century and it overlooks the valley from a cliff above the river with the same name, in an area called Lover in the municipality of Campodenno. It belongs to the group of medieval castles that were built on the right bank of Non valley. In the 16th century the castle lost its original functions, which were administrative and of control, becoming a noble residence continuosl ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Campodenno, Italy

Castelfondo Castle

Castelfondo castle was built in the 13th century. It was besieged by local farmers as part of the peasant rebellion in 1525. Restored in the 19th century, it is today privately owned and not open to the public.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castelfondo, Italy

Corno Castle

Castel Corno (“Horn”) gets its name from the spur of the cliff on which it stands. Just a few minutes from Rovereto, in a strategic location, Castel Corno offers a unique view, which runs from the flow of the Adige River to the Piccole Dolomiti. Founded around year 1000, it has a structure which perfectly adapts to the territory’s morphology: located on the spur of a cliff, it is divided into an upper and lower c ...
Founded: c. 1000 AD | Location: Isera, 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

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

Sporo Castle

Sporo Castle keep dates back to 1165, when it was built to protect an imperial road. The Sporo family owned the castle from 1312 to 1685. The castle was left to decay in 1720 and restored in 2009. The structure consists of a pentagonal keep and walls with four towers that enclosed residential buildings and a chapel.
Founded: 1165 | Location: Sporminore, Italy

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Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.