The first historical mention of Gavnø is in King Valdemar's census book from 1231 where a 'house on Gavnø' is mentioned. The house was apparently a castle built to defend Denmark's western coasts. In the 15th century, Queen Margaret I opened St Agnes' Priory there, catering for nuns from aristocratic families. The chapel can still be seen in the castle's southern wing although it has since been extended.
In 1737, Count Otto Thott acquired Gavnø. He renovated and substantially extended the castle, creating today's three-winged, yellow-facaded building in the Rococo style where he was able to house his large collections of paintings, manuscripts and books. At his death, his library collection contained over 120,000 volumes, exceeding that of the Danish National Library. The park surrounding the castle is known for its rare trees, rose garden and, above all, its extensive display of bulbs.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.