Verrès Castle

Verrès, Italy

Verrès Castle has been called one of the most impressive buildings from the Middle Ages in the Aosta Valley. Built as a military fortress by Yblet de Challant in the 14th century, it was one of the first examples of a castle constructed as a single structure rather than as a series of buildings enclosed in a circuit wall. The castle stands on a rocky promonitory on the opposite side of the Dora Baltea from Issogne Castle. The castle dominates the town of Verrès and the access to the Val d'Ayas. From the outside it looks like an austere cube, thirty metres long on each side and practically free of decorative elements.

History

The earliest documents attesting the existence of a castle at Verrès date to 1287. At that time, control of the area was contested between the Bishop of Aosta and some noble families which were vassals of the Counts of Savoy.

Around the middle of the 14th century, the De Verretio became extinct without leaving any possible heirs, so their property came into the possession of the counts of Savoy, who granted it to Yblet de Challant in 1372 as a reward for diverse duties discharged in their service.

Yblet entirely rebuilt the castle, producing a fortress that was practically impenetrable and distinct from most of the contemporary castles of the region which consisted of a number of buildings surrounded by a circuit wall.

In 1536 the fortress was renovated to take account of the appearance of firearms. The base of the cubic structure was surrounded by a circuit wall with counterforts and polygonal turrets, adapted to cope with cannons and equipped with pieces of artillery. The cannons were brought from Switzerland.

Hovewere, Verrès was abandoned in 1661 after the powerful Fort Bard was built. After a series of transfers it was finally acquired in 1894 by the Italian state which carried out restoration work.

In 2004 the castle was closed to allow strengthening and adjustment of the structure. Since then was reopened and has been open to guided tours.

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Details

Founded: c. 1287
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cesare Ferrari (17 months ago)
An amazing historical monument, this castle is a fortress built for defence. Guides will tell you its fascinating story, walking its great halls. There is a small parking at the entrance, and a little path to walk uo to the main door. A nice restaurant can be found close by the parking lot.
Kristjan Raude (2 years ago)
Nice 30min to discover a beautifully restored castle. You can have an access to first 2 floors, not so much. Access fee is 3€
georginamgo (3 years ago)
Very interesting place but keep in mind that visit are only in Italian. Moreover, you will have to climb a lot to get to the entrance and once inside, a lot of ups and downs stairs. If you can manage, this is a fascinating place because of the many details thought in medieval times in terms of defence. The history of the castle is incredible.
Patrizia Marchisio (3 years ago)
When you arrive it seems to come back in the past... The castle it renovated in a perfect way.. .. you will fell like a king or queen
Mario Simoni (4 years ago)
Very interesting.
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