The Visconti Castle of Abbiategrasso lies on the axis of the Naviglio Grande canal and it was built to protect the waterway to Milan. In the 15th century it was one of the preferred places of residence of the dukes and duchesses of Milan.
The castle was probably built at the end of the 13th century on the site of a previous fortification (castro Margazario) near a Benedictine monastery. It was enlarged by Azzone Visconti (1329-1339) and Gian Galeazzo (1378-1402). In 1438 it was restored and embellished by the Duke Filippo Maria and – lost every defensive function and easily reachable by water along the Naviglio Grande – it became his favorite country mansion.
To the castle had some inclination the duchesses of Milan. Here had a stable residence Agnese del Maino, mistress of the Duke Filippo Maria and mother of Bianca Maria. The Sforza, dukes of Milan and descendants of Bianca Maria, favored the castle of Abbiategrasso to enhance their Visconti origins.
After the Visconti-Sforza period, the castle progressively assumed again the role of a stronghold, especially during the years of the Italian Wars (1494-1559). In 1658 three towers were demolished and the fourth was cut off. In 1862 it was sold to the municipality, which in the following years obliterated the ramparts to make place to the new train station, at the same time taking care of some restorations.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.