Udine Castle

Udine, Italy

The Udine castle hill is made of drift accumulating during centuries. However, a legend about its origin says that when Attila the Hun (also called the Scourge of God) plundered Aquileia (one of the biggest cities of the Roman Empire at that time) in the year 452, he asked his soldiers to build a hill to see the Aquileia burning. This was made by filling the helmet of each soldier with ground.

The first official statement of the existence of a building on the hill dates back to 983: the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II donated to Rodoaldo, Patriarch of Aquileia a castrum, a military building.

The present building has the form of a palace and it was built on the ruins of a fortress destroyed in the year 1511 Idrija earthquake. The construction had started in 1517 and the works had lasted for 50 years. The external decoration of the palace and the paintings in the Parliament Hall are due to Giovanni da Udine, one of the pupils of Raphael.

The council of the Patria del Friuli was one of the first parliaments in the world, and it was suppressed after the French occupation in 1797.

Today the castle hosts the History and Art Museum of the City of Udine.

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Founded: 1511
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jakub Niedzwiedz (2 years ago)
A Medieval castle, rebuilt in the Renaissance times. Today it's an interesting art museum. The view from the castle is really worth to climb on the hill.
Joni Heikkonen (2 years ago)
Nice easily accessible castle with small but informative museum. Good for hang over days.
Chris Haynes (2 years ago)
Great city all around. Castle is not as you may imagine but worth the few minute hike up hill to see. View of the city from the castle is where it is at.
Ozan B. Can (2 years ago)
Great view of the city. Two routes to the viewing terrace, steep stairs or the longer walk around the castle that eventually leads to the viewing terrace. Take the longer route on your way up, then stairs on your way down. Stairs really steep!
Jacopo Rumi (3 years ago)
Calm and peaceful spot on the top of the historical center of Udine. The complex includes a museum, in the main body, a 14th century church which is a real must-see and a coffee bar - restaurant in the annex. Just up the hill, under the golden angel which dominates the town, a large grass is very enjoyable in the days of good weather and from there one can enjoy the view of the Alps and of a few other landmarks. Equally nice are the pathways, the arch and the 'loggiati' leading up to the castle (mind you: this is not a medioeval castle). The lion of San Marco is a recurring presence which reminds of the longstanding influence of Venice.
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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.

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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.