The Castello Baradello is a military fortification located on a 430 m high hill next to the city of Como. The castle occupies the ancient site of Comum Oppidum, the original settlement of Como, dating from the 1st millennium BC. Later it was one of the last Byzantine strongholds in the area, surrendering to the Lombards in 588. The castle was restored during the War of the Lombard League, with the help of emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1158). Barbarossa officially donated it to the citizens of Como in 1178.
Napoleone della Torre died here in 1278, having been imprisoned here by Ottone Visconti after the Battle of Desio; his nephew Guido was able to escape in 1283, as well as his brothers Corrado and Enrico the following year. Azzone Visconti restored and enlarged the fortification after conquering Como in 1335, and built another castle, the Castello della Torre Rotonda ('Castle of the Round Tower', now lost) and a citadel.
In 1527, by order of emperor Charles V, the castle was dismantled, with the exception of the tower, to prevent it from falling in hands of the French troops that had invaded the duchy of Milan. After belonging to monks and then to private individuals, the castle was restored in 1971.
The most preserved element is a square tower. It once had Guelph-type merlons. The walls are of Byzantine origin (6th-7th century); these were later heightened and provided with Guelph merlons, while another external line of walls was added.
Also from the 6th century are the Chapel of St. Nicholas and quadrangular tower, which was used as the castellan's residence. Napoleone della Torre was buried in the Chapel of St. Nicholas.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.