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:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.