The castles of Bellaguardia and della Villa look at each other on Montecchio Maggiore hill. They are also known as Romeo and Juliet's castles, the two unlucky passionate lovers whose legend was narrated by the count Luigi Da Porto. He was from Vicenza, vicar in Arzignano, town fortifications strategist, poet and author of the novel earlier known as La Giulietta which was reprised in the early 16th century by authors of different nationalities to become at last William Shakespeare's famous masterpiece.
Although the hill fortification has older origins, the first news on the two castles' origin dates back to 14th century: they are mentioned in the peace treaty stipulated by Mastino II della Scala in 1339 at the end of the Venetian-Scaliger war.
The current castles had been built by Cangrande II., Lord of Verona, since 1354. They were destroyed by bombards by Bartolomeo d'Aviano during the War of the League of Cambrai in 1514.
Purchased in 1742 by the the municipality of Montecchio Maggiore, after various restoration works and environmental improvement, the two castles are nowadays used for recreational activities. Juliet castle is used as a restaurant with a spectacular roof terrace, whereas Romeo castle is used for performances and cultural activities.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.