Oldofredi Castle

Iseo, Italy

The Oldofredi castle was one of three fortifications built to defend Montisola: the second was the fortress Oldofredi Martinengo in Sensole and the third was in Siviano. Like the Sensole castle, with which it is often confused in many sources, the Peschiera castle was also owned by the Oldofredi family. A tower may be used by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162 as a military observation point. The first document attesting the presence of a castle in Peschiera is a notarial deed dated 26 March 1488 signed 'in Peschiera of Montisola' in the 'Oldofredi residence'.

The castle exchanged hands many times during the 19th and 20th Centuries: first to the Oldofredi Tadini branch, then to the Maraglio family, from which it takes one of the names by which it is known, and finally to the Agnesi family. These changes brought about significant modifications and demolitions that determined its present appearance. Currently the property is used as a residential complex and restaurant.

The complex consists of several buildings built around an open courtyard on the southern side. The originating centre was almost certainly built in the Middle Ages, but over the centuries it has been renovated several times, both internally and externally, to turn it into a stately residential complex. In particular, the portico with pointed arches and the overhanging dovecote at the north-eastern entrance all leant against it; the loggia with Sarnico stone columns and pillars were added along the eastern side, and along the western side the portico with seven arches and overhanging loggia with fourteen arches, which originally boasted architectural elements in Sarnico stone, replaced in recent times by masonry pillars.

The most ancient part consists of the building facing the lake, while the more recent part is upstream, featuring exposed masonry that has been largely rebuilt. On the southern side of the ancient centre there was the tower described by Giovanni da Lezze in 1610 and demolished around 1870. There is an exquisite gothic fresco of Lombard style dated 1458 on an outer wall of the ground floor. The painting depicts Madonna and Child on a Throne seated on a throne with a greatly partial view.

Thanks to recent renovation work, several medieval walls have been brought to light, connoted by the presence of joint sealings, and have revealed torn fragments of decorative late medieval mural paintings, located on the first floor of the northern side. On the main floor there are halls with wooden 18th Century painted ceilings.



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Via Mirolte 56, Iseo, Italy
See all sites in Iseo


Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy


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User Reviews

Renato Riccio (2 years ago)
Oltre al posto unico anche la vicinanza al centro stesso del paese e della vita sul Lago d'Iseo DA RITROVARSI ANCORA
marco la forgia (2 years ago)
Work in progress
Guillermo Saavedra (2 years ago)
Paradisíaco. Una buena caminata de 45 minutos a paso rápido desde el embarcadero para llegar al castillo. Ojo que es recinto privado. Desde arriba se ve el lago en toda su magnitud. Hermoso!!!
Paolo Vitti (2 years ago)
Castello più di memoria storica che di edificio. Contiene un piccolo museo sulla grande guerra che merita di essere visitato. Ospita poi la biblioteca comunale di Iseo.
sem Cerritelli (2 years ago)
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Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".