The history of the original estate of Vanajanlinna, Äikäälä, goes back to the Middle Ages. Historical records mention Olle af Aeykaelum (Olli of Äikäälä) as the owner of the Äikäälä estate in 1374. After him the farm has had many owners and a colourful history as a freehold and holding farm used for agriculture.
The actual history of Vanajalinna begins from the year 1918, when the industrialist Carl Wilhelm Rosenlew bought the Äikäälä estate. His idea was to build a hunting lodge for politicians and economical elite of the new, independent Finland. The Vanajanlinna palace was designed by Sigurd Frosterus and it represents baroque, renaissance and British manor architecture styles. The massive red-brick palace was completed in 1924.
After the death of C. W. Rosenlew Vanajanlinna was left for minimal use and in 1941 Rosenlews decided to sell the estate. There were two interested buyers. Risto Ryti, the President of Finland, wanted Vanajanlinna as the President´s summer residence instead of the present official summer residence Kultaranta in Naantali. The other interested was an immensely rich German munitions industrialist Willy Daugs. Despite Risto Ryti´s strong opposition, Vanajanlinna was sold to Daugs, who then moved to the house.
After Germany was defeated in the war, all German property in Finland was transferred to the Soviet Union as war reparations, including Vanajanlinna. The Russian embassy used Vanajanlinna for holiday residence few times, but the main building began to decay. In 1956 Yrjö Sirola Institute acquired the estate and moved it as the folk high school. After the acquisition over a half of the land was conveyed to veterans to build small farms and dwelling houses. The Sirola Institute was shut down in 1994 and in 1996 the buildings and land of Vanajanlinna were acquired by the City of Hämeenlinna.
Today Vanajanlinna provides hotel, restaurant, conference and event services. There is also a high class golf course.
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.