The Castle of Palma de Montechiaro was built in 1353. It is the only castle of the Chiaramonte family that is situated at the seaside, on a cliff known as the Bay of the Sirens. It was founded by Frederick III Chiaramonte, then transferred to his successors Manfredi II, I and Andrea, who beheaded him. His possessions were seized and the ownership of the castle was transferred to the family Caro, who erased the memory of the previous gentlemen, changing its name into Montechiaro. Francesca Caro married Carlo Tomasi, the Duke of Palma and Prince of Lampedusa. The last owner with the name Tomasi was the author of the famous novel The Leopard, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa.
You can reach the castle via a steep pebbly road full of pebbles. The ground floor houses the chapel with a marble statue of the Madonna di Montechiara designed by Antonello Gaginis.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.