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:
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.
Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.