The Castle Garden in Rothenburg is the site where the royal family of Hohenstaufen established its imperial castle in 1142. King Conrad III reigned over his kingdom from here, but was the only ruler who actually used Rothenburg Castle. As his sons died relatively early, the castle quickly lost its importance, but not before it had formed the seed for the germination of the town.
Starting from the castle, the settlement spread over the hill, until it had become one of the ten largest towns in the Holy Roman Empire by the year 1400, with a population of over 6,000. An earthquake destroyed the castle complex in 1356 and the stones of the ruins – a valuable commodity at the time – were used to build the city walls. Only the Chapel of St. Blaise was renovated after the quake. However this building was not originally a chapel, but rather the 'Upper Ducal House', probably the conference building where the king received his guests. The building was dedicated as a chapel after the renovation and now serves as a memorial to the fallen of the two World Wars. The Chapel of St. Blaise is also the site of the memorial to the pogrom of 1298, the original of which is in the Imperial Town Museum.
After entering the Castle Gardens, the visitor will be drawn to the wonderful view of the southern part of the town and the Tauber Valley to the left, as well as the Double Bridge and the Kobolzeller Church.
Another interesting feature of the Castle Gardens are the geometric flower beds from the 17th/18th century with eight sandstone figures representing the four seasons and the four elements.
If you look into the valley having passed through the gardens, you will see a bright blue tower, known as the Topplerschlösschen, the House of Mayor Toppler. Built in 1388, it was built by the powerful Mayor Toppler for his own pleasure. Previously surrounded by water, the castle is where he met with dignitaries such as King Wenzel. There is also a memorial to Toppler in the Castle Gardens. Since September 2010, the park is also adorned with a column in memory of the royal house of the Hohenstaufen dynasty.References:
Soave castle was built in 934 to protect the area against the Hungarian invasions. It was remodelled by Cansignorio of the Scaliger family in the mid-1300s. in 1365 Cansignorio had the town walls erected and the Town hall was built in the same year.
The castle underwent various vicissitudes until, having lost its strategic importance, it was sold on the private market in 1596. In 1830 it was inherited by Giulio Camuzzoni who restored the manor and in particular the surroundings walls (with is twenty-four towers), the battlements and living-quarters.
Soave castle is a typical medieval military edifice, commanding the neighbourhood of the city from the Tenda Hill. It comprises a mastio (donjon) and three lines of walls forming three courts of different size. The outer line, with a gate and a draw bridge, is the most recent, built by the Venetians in the 15th century. It houses the remains of a small church from the 10th century.
The second and larger court, the first of the original castle, is called della Madonna for a fresco portraying St. Mary (1321). Another fresco is visible after the door leading to the inner court, and portrays a Scaliger soldier. The mastio is the most impressive feature of the castle. Bones found within showed it was used also as prison and place of torture.
The House called del Capitano (the Scaliger commander) houses Roman coins, weapons parts, medals and other ancient remains found during the most recent restoration. Adjacent is a bedroom with a 13th-century fresco with St. Mary and Madeleine and a dining room with medieval kitchenware. Another room houses the portraits of the most famous Scaliger figures: Mastino I, Cangrande, Cansignorio and Taddea da Carrara, wife of Mastino II; the portrait of Dante Alighieri testify an alleged sojourn of the poet in the castle.