Cairo Montenotte castle is famous for having been the object of fighting up to the 16th and 17th centuries because of the battles of succession between the Genoese, the French, the Spanish and the Savoys. These battles devastated this region, causing it to be abandoned definitively by the last owners, who preferred to remain in the village.The origins of the castle go back to long ago, more specifically to the period between the 11th and 12th centuries, when Ottone del Carretto built it as his home after having inherited the mountain property upon the death of his father, Enrico Del Carretto, the main upholder of the family fortune.
As already highlighted, the position of Cairo village, which the castle looked down upon and administered, made it possible to control the business activities along the road which led from Vado to Acqui and Tortona, continuing to Alba and Asti.
At the beginning of the 13th century Otto I ceded his property to the Republic of Genoa and, following this change, the village lived through a prosperous period. There is proof that the castle had many prestigious visitors, among which Conradin, and the famous French troubadour Arnaut Daniel.
In 1322 the castle changed owners again, moving into the hands of Manfredo IV, the Marquis of Saluzzo, and then to the Scarampi lineage, which used it as a residence until the 17th century.Visiting this military base now means visiting a building that was changed greatly, as is confirmed by the building façade which is divided into two distinct blocks for two branches of the Scarampi lineage. The remaining parts of the buildings can instead be attributed to the 15th century and the parallel plastered walls presenting the alternating use of brickwork and stone, as if to create a decoration around the windows, is an element that suggests use for residing rather than for defence.
Unfortunately little remains from the original building. Proof of the Carretto phase can be in the ruins of the tower, positioned behind the rest of the complex. The tower acted as the keep of the fortification, had a square floor and blended in with the walls, which are still partially visible.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.