Medieval castles in Veneto

Arzignano Castle

A primitive castle was built in the 10th or 11th century on the highest hill on Arzignano, where now stands the church of St. Matthew. Scaligeri family, who in 1312 became masters of town, erected fortifications to the current site, consist of a ring of walls of 650 meters, with 2 door, 10 turrets and fortress.
Founded: c. 1370 | Location: Arzignano, Italy

Illasi Castle

Illasi Castle was built in the 12th century. The structure, composed by a fortified palace and a single tower, surrounded by a wall, is extremely peculiar and almost unique in Europe. It is still unclear which lord built it. It already existed when the tyrant Ezzelino da Romano used it as a base for his wars. Later it became one of the main strongholds during the domination of the Della Scala family, lords of Verona. It ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Illasi, Italy

Zumelle Castle

Zumelle Castle is located in the village of Tiago in the municipality of Mel. Nearby the castle is the early medieval church of San Donato, of Lombard origins. A first fortification here existed perhaps as early as c. 46-47 AD, when the Romans were consolidating their hold in the Valbelluna, conquered in the 1st century BC. The construction sat on a strategical location, commanding the road coming from the plain through ...
Founded: 1311 | Location: Mel, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.