The Castello di Frascarolo (Frascarolo castle) or of Medici of Marignano is on the hill on a dominating position between Ganna and Ceresio valleys.
It is believed the castle is from the early Middle Ages, perhaps the work of the Longobards, but it’s only documented in 1160 when Archbishop of Milan Oberto da Pirovano upheld a valid resistance to the advancing inhabitants of Como looking to conquer the Varese area. However, it’s possible that the castle was only a rural fort back then.
Starting in the 12th century, it was the property of the Abbey of Ganna (or Abbey of San Gemolo in Ganna Valley), and followed destiny and plunders including the one by the Swiss Unterwalden from Mendrisio in 1511; it was purchased by Marquis of Marignano Gian Battista Medici in 1543. It was precisely with the advent of the noble Medici family that the castle was renovated and embellished. Over the centuries, it lost its defensive physiognomy to become a typical 16th-century residence.
The castle and its massive walls flaunt a mighty 15th-century tower with a rusticated portal, courtyard with a loggia, and an adjacent section built in the 16th century when it became an exclusive dwelling. The entrance hall preceded by a boulevard and large stretches of meadow inside certainly belong to another period.
The castle is still private property and cannot be toured without specific permission.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.