Castelvecchio

Verona, Italy

Castelvecchio ('Old Castle') is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. The castle stands on the probable location of a Roman fortress outside the Roman city. Lord Cangrande II della Scala had it built along with its bridge across the Adige River as a deterrent to his powerful neighbors such as Venice, the Gonzaga and the Sforza families. Construction was carried out between 1354 and 1376 (Cangrande died in 1359). The fortified bridge was intended to allow the seigniors to escape safely northwards to the Tyrol in the event of a rebellion or a coup d'état (the Scaligeri were allies of the Holy Roman Empire) and when they eventually lost their hold on Verona, its surviving members left Italy to found a German branch of the family.

Later, during the Venetian domination, slits were added to defend it with cannons. The castle was damaged by French troops during the Napoleonic Wars (1796-7), in retaliation to the Pasque Veronesi, when the local population staged a violent anti-French revolt. Napoleon had chosen to stay in Castelvecchio on his trips to Verona, but his widespread and arbitrary requisitions of citizens' and churches' property, the massive draft of male workers into the French army prompted the resistance that eventually drove out the invaders.

Under the Austrians, Castelvecchio was turned into barracks. In 1923 the castle was restored, as well as in 1963-1965.

The castle is powerful and compact in its size with very little decoration - one square compound built in red bricks, one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture of the age, with imposing M-shaped merlons running along the castle and bridge walls. It has seven towers, a superelevated keep with four main buildings inside. The castle is surrounded by a ditch, now dry, which was once filled with waters from the nearby Adige.

Castelvecchio is now home to the Castelvecchio Museum and the local officer's club.

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Address

Ponte Scaligero, Verona, Italy
See all sites in Verona

Details

Founded: 1354
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robin Sayeed (4 months ago)
After we bought our tickets from the lobby we were told that we have to left the strollers behind. After that we were ready to start but in the first room we were stopped and they told that we can’t take our daughter with us she is 1year and 9 months old. My husband had to stay in the lobby with our daughter. I wonder why we weren’t told this before we bought our tickets? if we knew this earlier we wouldn’t go there. No one who worked there spoke English very well and many of them were very rude!!
David Amster (6 months ago)
What a brilliant museum! Excellent collection of paintings and sculpture in a beautiful setting. The explanations in English are very good.
Jamie Murillas (6 months ago)
So neat and organized museum. Great view of the lake from the top. The paintings were all catholic based hence the background regarding the castle. Over all should visit for the castle and view.
Susan Derkx (14 months ago)
Lovely place. We were happy that it wasn't to hot to visit the place. You can make great pictures, even when it cloudy.
Lawrence Domson (15 months ago)
This is one of the most beautiful historical places of Verona. Visit it by day to learn the amazing history of this castle and by night for the magical atmosphere it releases. Perfect if together with that significant other ;)
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