The Garda Island is at present owned by the Cavazza family. 130 Gallic-Roman tombstones found on the island prove the inhabitance of it during Roman times. Abandoned to its own ends during the centuries of the decline of the Roman Empire, it became a game reserve at the end of 879. he first historical mention can be found in a decree by Carloman in 879 which documented the donation of the island to the monks of San Zeno of Verona. Around 1220 St. Francis of Assisi visited many areas of northern Italy including Lake Garda, which in ancient times was called Benàco, on his return from the Orient through Albania and Dalmatia.
St.Francis believed it to be an ideal place for his monks as it was so far from the world and made a simple hermitage in the rocky part to the north. The island became an important ecclesiastic centre for meditation which hosted illustrious religious personalities, such as father Francesco Licheto from the noble Lechi family from Brescia, who in 1470 instituted a theology and philosophy school on the island.
The death of Father Francesco Licheto marked the beginning of a period of decadence for the religious community of the island. From 1685 to 1697 it was a convent for novices where the monks went into retreat.
In 1797 the the monastery was suppressed definitively by Napoleon and it later became the property of the state and in the following years had various owners including Count Luigi Lechi from Brescia (1817). Luigi Lechi ordered important restoration and construction work to then pass it on twenty years later to his brother Teodoro, ex general of the Napoleonic army, who made further alterations with the added to the terraces on the front of the villa. In 1860 it was dispossessed by the State and given to the army. The idea to build a fortress was though abandoned and was sold at auction; the property was awarded to Baron Scotti who sold it to Duke Gaetano de Ferrari of Genoa and his wife, the Russian Archduchess, Maria Annenkoff. Between 1880 and 1900 the new owners dedicated their time to planning and realizing the park, building containment walls towards the lake and importing fertile earth and exotic plants. The palace was enriched by Italian garden terraces with elaborately designed hedges and flowering bushes. Before the Duke’s death in 1893, the two of them together conceived the project of a palace to be built on the site of the old Lechi villa. The villa in Neogothic-Venetian was built between 1890 and 1903, on the project by architect Luigi Rovelli.
The extremely complex building has its own stylistic unity and a rare stateliness. The façades are decorated by acutely arched windows and in the south-west corner stands a tower crowned with crenellation in stone with flowered neo-gothic style decorations. After the death of the Archduchess, the island passed in inheritance to her daughter Anna Maria, wife of Prince Scipione Borghese of Rome. Anna Maria loved the island very much and made it her home until the end of her life, taking care of the park and the family memories.
In 1927, on the death of the Prince, the Island passed down to her daughter Livia, married to Count Alessandro Cavazza of Bologna who kept it in an excellent state to leave it to his son Camillo who in turn left it to his wife Charlotte and their seven children. Today they continue to passionately look after the park and the palace where they live.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".