Beseno Castle occupies an entire hilltop dominating the Valle dell'Adige, between Rovereto and Trento. It is the largest fortified complex in Trentino and today a most fascinating showcase for exhibitions and shows.
Many historical battles, from the wars between fractions with the Veronesi in the 12th and 13th centuries to the battle of 1487 between Trentino troops and the Venetians, as well as the armed battles between the French revolutionists and the Austrians in the two world wars, took place in this fortress. In 1973 the Trapp counts donated Castel Beseno to the Autonomous Province of Trento which carried out extensive re-construction works.The large lunated ramparts distinguishing Castel Beseno go back to the 16th century. The main doorway had a drawbridge and when entering the castle you can still see three gunports in the first courtyard.
Besides its grandeur this castle captures the visitors' attention because of its evocative and fascinating atmosphere. Temporary exhibitions, cultural events and period costume pageants are held here, in the exceptional scenario of the vast Campo dei Tornei (Tournament Field) which is currently a well-groomed garden. In the large square the gunpowder deposit house now holds a room for visitor information and audiovisual projections. To the side you can see the clock tower and the hayloft. Beyond the central part of the Castle you reach the castle dwellers' residence. The feudal complex originally was made up by three turreted nuclei on the two extreme rises of the hill. The Casa del Vescovo (House of the Bishop) and Palazzo nuovo (New Palace) are located in the third nucleus.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.