Torre dello Ziro tower was built in 1480 by the Duke of Amalfi, Antonio Piccolomini, during a time of plaguing attacks by the Saracens. Constructed along with a fortress to provide protection and advance warning, the round stone lookout enjoys splendid views of the Gulf of Salerno and the villages scattered around the hills and on the seafront.
It is said that the Duchess of Amalfi, Giovanni d'Aragon, was locked up in the tower with her two sons and eventually murdered here for her scandalous affair with the butler. Some say they can hear her crying as they pass the appealing ruins.
To reach the Torre dello Ziro, you have to go for a walk. Start in the village of Pontone, below Scala and follow the signs toward Atrani down the staircases and pathways. You'll then find signs directing you to the Torre. Along the way you'll get to see the splendid Villa Cimbrone in Ravello and other lovely scenes. The tower itself is basks in the sun, despite its dark legendary past, overlooking the sapphire waters and pastel colors of Atrani and Amalfi below.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.