Lonato Castle

Lonato, Italy

The Lonato medieval castle 'La Rocca' rises on a hill which dominates the southern part of Lake Garda and is one of the most impressive castles in all of Lombardy. Set inland, overlooking the ancient town of Lonato, the Rocca is an imposing structure nearly 180 meters long and 45 meters wide, complete with drawbridge!

Throughout the years and centuries, Lonato del Garda was ruled by various peoples and families who fought each other over the fortified town which had a strategically important defense tower. The fortress belonged to the counts of Montichiari, the Scaliger family, and in 1376 it was the Visconti who expanded the fortified walls to protect the entire town. Today, the medieval Rocca of Lonato houses the town’s ornithology museum, “Gustavo Carlotto”.

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Address

Largo Papa 17, Lonato, Italy
See all sites in Lonato

Details

Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information

www.roccadilonato.it

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Peter Brunner (2 years ago)
Great view
Jennifer B (2 years ago)
Views from the Rocca towards Lake Garda are amazing and the house of the Podesta is a historical jewel well worth visiting.
Igor Karpekin (2 years ago)
Would be a five-star, but there is absolutely nothing inside and... you have to pay for it! But, to be fair, the fortress is kept in very good shape. Great views. Quite interesting exposition of birds, but I can't name these 3 rooms a "museum". There is also a modern building inside, which i assume can be rented for weddings/other events.
Belinda Gold (2 years ago)
Stunning location, excellent food
Ben Carter (4 years ago)
Visited for a friend's wedding and have to say it's an amazing location for a wedding. Beautiful surroundings and the staff were excellent. The food was great and the place looked amazing at night. Big marquee for a large group with a large dancefloor and cocktail bar. It truly was a great day.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.