Mesocco Castle ruins are among the largest in the canton. Originally the seat of the noble family von Sax, from the 12th century until 1480 it was held by the Freiherr of Misox/Mesocco. From 1480 until 1549 it was held by the Trivulzio family.
A small fortified church, the Church of S. Carpoforo, was built on the hill top around the 7th century as a refuge castle for the surrounding villages. Around 1000, the fortifications around the church began gradually expanding and a bell tower was added to the church. A bergfried was added between 1150 and 1200, changing the shape and location of the walls. By the 12th century the fortified church and occasionally used fortifications had expanded into a permanently occupied castle with a nobleman who ruled over the nearby valley. By 1219 it was mentioned as Mesocco Castle. In the 13th century the castle was expanded again. A ring wall now encircled the entire hill top and a large residential wing was added to the tower. Around 1400 the residential wing was expanded and now formed an inner castle with the tower.
The first ruler of the castle was the local Baron of Sax/Misox, who by the 13th century ruled over the entire Val Mesolcina and controlled a number of castles. By the end of the century, the baron's power crossed over the San Bernardino Pass and by the 14th century they reached the peak of their power. Baron Albert von Sax-Misox was a founding member of the Grey League and the family's future looked bright. However, Albert's murder in 1406 led to the gradual decline of the family. In 1480 they sold Mesocco castle and its associated demesne to General Giacomo Trivulzio.
Trivulzio had been sent by Milan to acquire the castle and strengthen their claims in the strategic valley. After he paid a deposit on the castle and occupied it, he refused the pay the remainder of the agreed upon price of 16,000 Rheingulden. In 1483 the Baron of Sax and local forces besieged the castle in an unsuccessful attempt to force Trivulzio to pay. However, over the following years, he broke with Milan and paid the remaining money to improve local relations. In 1490 Trivulzio expanded and strengthened the castle and sited cannons on the walls.
In 1496 he signed a treaty with the Grey League to support them with weapons and supplies in the event of a war, which he was called to do during the Swabian War and Musso War. Despite the extensive fortifications, in 1526 the newly formed Three Leagues ordered the castle abandoned and moved the administrative center of the valley to Palast Trivulzio in Roveredo.
The castle fell into ruin until 1925-26 when it was excavated and reinforced. A further project in 1986-90 restored a polygonal tower and northern and north-western walls.
The castle sprawls over the entire top of a small mountain. The walls form an irregular pentagon with five towers. The interior of the castle was home to the count's family and his soldiers as well as armories, a foundry, a bakery, a dairy, a cistern and a charnel house. The church of S. Carpoforo also stood inside the castle walls. At the foot of the castle is the Church of Santa Maria al Castello. The church was first mentioned in 1219. It houses several frescoes from the workshop of Seregnesi from the mid-15th century.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.