Schloss Esterházy was constructed in the late 13th century, and came under ownership of the Hungarian Esterházy family in 1622. Under Paul I, 1st Prince Esterházy of Galántha the estate was converted into a baroque castle which remained the principal residence and center of administration of the family for over 300 years. The palace currently offers a wine museum, gift shop, guided tours, and concerts in the famous Haydnsaal as well as the large garden in the rear of the castle.
The Haydnsaal, originally the large multi-purpose festival and banquet room, is a piece of artwork in itself in the Schloss Esterházy. With its size and ornate splendor, it reflects the political, economic and cultural dominance of the Esterházy family. Today it ranks among the most beautiful and acoustically perfect concert halls of the world. Its name goes back to the famous composer Joseph Haydn, who worked for nearly forty years in the service of the Esterházy family. Many of his works composed and premiered in Eisenstadt and the Schloss Esterházy.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.