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 Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.