Chignolo Po Castle is a beautiful eighteenth-century patrician residence, museum of art and customs, called 'the Versailles of Lombardy'. It contains important and precious testimonies of the lavish world of Lombard and Venetian nobility.
The oldest part of the castle, born as a fortress on a hill, is the great Tower, from which a long stretch of the Po (Cuneulus super Padum). It is believed that it was built by the King Liutprando around 740 AD, when Pavia was the capital of the gods Longobardi, with the purpose of serving as a defense fortress and a garrison on the Po and on the Via di Monte Bordone, subsequently named via Francigena - Romea that connected Northern Europe with Rome.
In front of the fort, towards the north, stands the Borgo, which was entirely rebuilt in the 1600. It is characterized as an architectural complex protected at the entrance by a moat, by two garries, and by four ravels (towers) on the far sides.
The castle, in a short time, starting from the XIII century, became one of the greatest Feudi Lombardi, on which i first settled Pusterla, until, in the 1340, this family was involved in an anti-viscosity and fiercely exterminated conspiracy.Then came in Federici and Cusani, which increased to the maximum the power of the Castle, also receiving continuous privileges and concessions from the Kings and Dukes of Milan.
From 1700 to 1730 it was expanded and transformed from a medieval fortress into a real one 18thcentury palace where they stayed Popes, Emperors, Kings, Princes and Archdukes.
Tiepolesque school artists were entrusted with the realization of the stuccos and paintings that embellish the halls of representation of the Castle.The work was carried out by the will and financing of the owner of the time, the Cardinal Agostino Cusani Visconti (1655 - 1715), who was Ambassador of the Pope to the Venetian Republic and to the Court of Louis XIV in Paris, as well as the Bishop of Pavia.
The spectacular baroque courtyard, the large frescoed halls of Tiepolesque school, the refinement of the stuccos and decorations, the dominant tower with its masurized turreted stone, all immersed in a gentle rural landscape, make this monument one of the most important Italian historical residences.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.