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.References:
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin and one of the the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The rich and eventful history of Heidelberg Palace began when the counts palatine of the Rhine, – later prince electors – established their residence at Heidelberg. The earliest castle structure was built before 1214 and later expanded into two castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. Until the Thirty Years’ War, Heidelberg Palace boasted one of the most notable ensembles of buildings in the Holy Roman Empire. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
The 19th century brought a new wave of admiration: a sight both terrible and beautiful, the ruins epitomised the spirit of the Romantic movement. Heidelberg Palace was elevated to a national monument. The imposing edifice and its famous garden, the Hortus Palatinus, became shrouded in myth. The garden, the last work commissioned by the prince electors, was never completed. Some remaining landscaped terraces and other vestiges hint at the awe-inspiring scale of this ambitious project. In the 17th century, it was celebrated as the “eighth wonder of the world”. While time has taken its toll, Heidelberg Palace’s fame lives on to this day.
Heidelberg Castle is located 80 metres up the northern part of the Königstuhl hillside, and thereby dominates the view of the old downtown. Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins tower majestically over the Neckar valley.