The castle of Aymavilles is certainly the most characteristic and recognizable element of the Aymavilles for its position and architecture characterized by the four cylindrical towers crowned by 'murder holes' that enclose a central body with a square base.
The building, the origins of which date back to 12th century, was repeatedly reconfigured, changed its use from defensive to that of elegant lordly residence inside a great park.
The first record of the fiefdom and the castle date back to 1278, when it was simple a four-sided tower surrounded by a wall, according to the widespread type of the oldest Valdostan castles. Today, the large surrounding walls of the 13th century tower still exist, characterized by being strongly banked, along with a spinal wall divides it into sections at full height.
In 1357, Aimone de Challant became subject to fiefdom three years before the fiefdom of Aymavilles by Amedeo VI of Savoy, allowing it to operate as the defensive reinforcement of the facility, probably considered too vulnerable particularly the level approach on the surrounding land. The four corner towers were thus made: these have circular bases and are unequal in diameter, height and type of crenellations; 'murder holes' and arrow loops were also built, in addition to a double wall with a moat and draw bridge.
At the beginning of 18th century, the external fortifications were demolished and the land was arranged in terraces and gardens, changing the designated use of the building.
After many changes in ownership, the castle was purchased in 1970 by the Regional Administration, which has undertaken major restructuring in these past years.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.