Towards the 11th century Cavriana became one of the properties of Canossa and it is in this period that the first fortification was probably built. Subsequently to the Canossa the ownership of the village passes to the free Municipality of Mantua that, to defend the boundaries from the growing power of the Municipality of Verona, grants it to the family of the Riva with defensive tasks but, in the second half of the XIII century, they are supplanted by the emergent family of the Bonacolsi, who in turn, in 1328, were replaced by the Gonzagas with the election to Imperial Vicar of Luigi Gonzaga by the Emperor Ludwig IV the Bavaro. With the increase in danger due to the neighboring Visconti, the castle is reinforced with high walls that surround the entire village, while the fortress has at that time four towers at the corners; in the second half of the 14th century clashes with the Visconti are frequent and in 1383 he moved to Cavriana Francesco I Gonzaga to escape the plague and died here in 1407.
Between 1458 and 1461 the fortress was strengthened and modified to a design by Giovanni da Padova to adapt to new war techniques and the advent of cannons, it is also surrounded by a system of ditches. In 1501 Francesco II Gonzaga, at the time military commander in the pay of the Serenissima, armed the fortress of artillery.
In the first decades of the 17th century the Rocca Castello di Cavriana appears to be the largest of the state, is then attacked and occupied with partial demolition, so that in a census of the defensive structures of 1650 the castle is decayed. In 1708 the Gonzagas fall and the Austrians are not interested in rebuilding the fortification, so much so that in 1771 they ordered the demolition.References:
The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.