The medieval town of Varzi is home to a castle built by the Malaspina family in 1164 after inheriting from Frederick Barbarossa the territory from the Rivanazzano Hills to Oramala. The structure is currently owned by the Counts of Odetti di Marcorengo, who in 1983 embarked on a redevelopment process that ended only three years ago, in order to give this gem of architecture back to the community, opening it up to the public.
Today, the castle welcomes guests for events, weddings and local culture initiatives. Its surroundings introduce visitors to renewed splendor: what used to be a vegetable garden is now the wonderful “Garden of the Contessa” and “Limonaia”. The stables have been transformed into “Antique Mangers” that maintain an original arch and stone floors, while the main dining room was created in the old barn. Renovation also extended to the 13th-century ”Antique Ice House” and the cellars, which were used to keep typical local food like wines and cured meat. Once a symbol of the economic and commercial wealth of Varzi, the castle now showcases the gastronomic treasures of the area, including prestigious wines, almond cake, mushrooms and DOP Varzi Salami.
All between folk legends and famous stories, like the one about the castle’s tower, known as “Tower of the Witches”. Some say that during the Inquisition, twenty-five women and a handful of men were imprisoned between the 170-centimeter-thick walls of the tower, accused of witchcraft and later burned at the stake in the square right next to the building.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.