The Castello di Lombardia iis one of the largest and most ancient edifices in Italy, with an area of some 26,000 m2.
The castle's origins are related to a fortress erected in the 1st millennium BC by the Sicani on the foundation of the ancient Henna, on a hill 970 m above sea level. It remained a key possession in the subsequent history of the island, and the Romans were able to conquer it only by passing through its sewer network.
Under the castle was the ancient Sican temple of Ceres, site of the widespread cult of that goddess in the whole of Italy, which was described by Cicero.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was used by the Byzantines and resisted Arab assaults for many years. After their victory, the latter rebuilt the fortress around the 10th century; the castle was also used by their successors in Sicily, the Normans. Two centuries later, architect Richard of Lentini was commissioned by Frederick II, Emperor and King of Sicily, to restore it as a summer residence. He added 20 towers and called in a garrison coming from the Langobardia minor (Calabria), whence the castle's name.
With the advent of the artillery, the castle lost its primary strategic role and was turned into a prison. In the 20th and early 21st century, the castle was the site of the Teatro più vicino alle Stelle, used for opera and pop music concerts. The castle is now open to the public.
Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site.
Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the seat of a bishopric, intended to become a 'second Rome'. Of particular interest is the way in which the present town illustrates the link between agriculture (market gardens and vineyards) and the urban distribution centre.
From the 10th century onwards, Bamberg became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of this town strongly influenced northern Germany and Hungary. In the late 18th century Bamberg was the centre of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and E.T.A. Hoffmann living there.
Bamberg extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church. This has led to Bamberg being called the 'Franconian Rome'.