Visconti Castle

Pavia, Italy

The Visconti Castle in Pavia was built in 1360 by Galeazzo II Visconti, soon after the taking of the city, a free city-state until then. The credited architect is Bartolino da Novara. The castle used to be the main residence of the Visconti family, while the political capital of the state was Milan. North of the castle a wide park was enclosed, also including the Certosa of Pavia, founded 1396 according to a vow of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, meant to be a sort of private chapel of the Visconti dynasty. The Battle of Pavia (1525), climax of the Italian Wars, took place inside the castle park.

There are some significant proofs of the great frescoes showing battles, hunting and middle-class life scenes, which decorated rooms, porches and loggias. Another excellent proof is the complete decoration of the splendid Blue Room with its gold and lapislazuli. Perhaps it was the seat of the Visconti library with its 1.000 manuscripts and commissioned by Petrarch.

It presently houses the Civic Museums of Pavia (Museo Civici di Pavia) including the Pinacoteca Malaspina, Museo Archeologico and Sala Longobarda, Sezioni Medioevale e Rinascimentale Quadreria dell’800 (Collezione Morone), Museo del Risorgimento, Museo Robecchi Bricchetti, and the Cripta di Sant’Eusebio.

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Details

Founded: 1360
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michela Barisonzi (3 years ago)
Stunning castle and amazing gardens. Absolutely worth a visit.
Tatiana Torres (3 years ago)
This was an amazing experience! You should visit and enjoy every single detail
James Kent-Nye (3 years ago)
Absolutely brilliant museum - I got in free for being in my early 20's too. Very interesting mixture of historic architectural, artifact and artistic pieces. Definitely worth a visit, even just to see the castle and it's grounds.
Roxana Meaney (3 years ago)
Just stunning Roman artifacts beautifully displayed. The modern donated art collection was also beautiful. Very impressive
Valerio Meletti (3 years ago)
Great location, a stunningly beautiful castle. The exhibition was finely curated, with a special care for children (our kid was given a free dedicated booklet with interactive activities). Staff is very very kind. Top notch
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.