Sarre Royal Castle stands on a promontory in Lalex, which overlooks the Aosta flatland above the national road for Mont Blanc. It was built in 1710 on the ruins of a fortress mentioned in 1242. The property was purchased by the King of Italy Victor Emanuel II, who renovated it and used it during hunting expeditions in Val d’Aosta. The royal castle of Sarre, after becoming the private property of the King, was used as his headquarters for expeditions in the valleys of Cogne, Rhêmes and Valsavarenche.
Several modifications were made to the residence, in order to welcome the first king of Italy, including raising of the tower and construction of new stables. Inside, the rooms were completely reconstructed and modernised. The curator of the Royal Palace in Milan was charged with furnishing the residence, for which he transferred furniture from other royal residences. Victor Emmanuel’s successor, Umberto I (1844-1900) also destined the alpine castle for hunting activities.
In the final years of his reign, Umberto I took a particular interest in the Sarre residence and commissioned the renovation of its interior. At that time, works included important decorations in monumental rooms, garnished with ibex and chamois trophies. Queen Maria José also spent her holidays in the castle, even in the years following the monarchy. In 1989 the Val d´Aosta regional authority purchased the estate to restore it. The castle has a longitudinal body with a square tower in the centre, and is a museum of the presence of the Savoy in Valle d’Aosta.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.