The monumental complex of the Branciforti Castle is located at the highest point of the village of Raccuja to dominate the whole valley. It dates back to the Norman era, even if its origins are to be found between the Roman and the Arab ages. Over the centuries the Castle was subjected to numerous changes, the most important of which dates back to 1200s when the entire building passed under the ownership of Baron Orioles. Subsequently, in the 16th century, it was sold to the Banciforti family which carried out other alterations. Following their rule, immediately after the unification of Italy, the whole monumental complex became a judicial prison. Today the property has been carefully restored after a conservation campaign in the 90s and is home to the municipal library and a museum area.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.