The Castles of Bellinzona are a group of fortifications located around the town of Bellinzona. Situated on the Alpine foothills, the group is composed of fortified walls and three castles named CastelgrandeMontebello and Sasso Corbaro. The Castles of Bellinzona with their defensive walls have been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

Montebello Castle is located to the east of the town center. It was built before 1313 for the pro-Imperial Rusca family, who occupied the castle following the Visconti victory and occupation of Castelgrande. By the end of the 14th century it was in the hands of the Visconti. The castle was renovated and expanded between 1462 and 1490 to its current state. In the 19th century the castle fell into disrepair and was renovated starting in 1903.

Unlike Castelgrande, Montebello was not protected by natural features. It is surrounded by deep moats that protected the walls. The complex is rhomboid in shape and connected to the city walls on the south and north. The castle clearly shows the three stages of construction, with the original central keep surrounded by the 14th century walls which are in turn surrounded by the 15th century walls.

The inner keep dates from before 1313 and is an irregular rectangle. It appears that the battlemented tower with a hip roof on the north-east side of the keep is an incorrect reconstruction from 1903. Prints from the 17th century show a four-story building with a roof sloped toward the interior of the keep. The keep was built with a high, strong outer wall with living quarters and utility buildings along the inner wall. The original entrance is located high on the western wall and can only be reached by climbing an external flight of stairs. The well in the inner eastern bailey may be from the original castle.

The 14th century wall was partly included in the later 15th century wall, but some original sections can still be seen. The 14th century gateway is supported by a projecting gatehouse, though the inner and outer drawbridges are modern reproductions.

The 15th century wall is located 715 m from the original complex, with a moat on the east side and a rounded arch in the south-east side. It includes some parts of the 14th century wall. An arrowhead shaped barbican was added to the east of the moat and was protected by another moat and machicolated battlements on the north side. On the south side a gate, equipped with murder-hole, was added during this expansion.

A little chapel, dedicated to Saint Michael, leans against the wall of the more recent south-facing section; built around 1600, it is one of the few buildings erected in the castles of Bellinzona under the rule of the three Swiss cantons.

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Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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User Reviews

Luis Coelho (13 months ago)
I'd enjoy the aerial view from 3 well preserved castles in the same city
Catherine Filippova (14 months ago)
Good view is right near the castle. Castle itself is not free to enter, but it is cheap. Not crowded, small.
M A (15 months ago)
Everything in Italian language, but it has a nice view
Schmizi (16 months ago)
Bjz the same Day shipping to your website on page two years ago and the second time around and have the time and money for this week so that I have a good day I would like to see the email address is correct on the phone with me and I will be in touch and let you know when the account to this email is intended for use in your country to be in a few days ago I had to be a part in this email and delete the email address is no need any other person is strictly prohibited from using the same Day service and the other day and I will be a great weekend too many devices allowed by the copyright holder
Ross Heaney (17 months ago)
Easy walk up to the castle, with stunning views of the valley, Bellinzona and the other two castles. About 15mins walk from the train station. Plenty of flat grass areas to relax and enjoy the scenery!
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