Lerici Castle

Lerici, Italy

One of the main sights of Lerici is its castle which since its first founding in 1152 was used to help control the entrance of the Gulf of La Spezia. The magnificent castle rises on a rocky promontory overlooking the Bay of Lerici and is considered one of the most impressive and beautiful fortification inall of Liguria.

Due to its location in the Gulf of La Spezia, it has a rich history of disputes between the naval powers in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages, evidence of which can be found in the inscriptions still legible at the Castle's entrance.

The first phase is referred to as the Pisan domination. It was the Pisans that began construction in 1152 of the oldest structure of the castle - its pentagonal tower. The Castle’s initial structure was built in 1241 while Lerici was occupied by the Pisans and later extended and reinforced as its role developed during the rule of the Genoese.

The third phase began in 1555 and consisted of the completion of all the fortifications resulting in the current shape of the Castle and let to reinforcing the Lerici Castle’ strategic importance on the eastern border of Liguria.

Today the castle contains a museum of palaeontology.

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Details

Founded: 1152
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information

www.liguriaguide.com

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kieran Murphy (2 years ago)
Fantastic views from the parapets, well restored and illuminating exhibition of local photographs. Free lift service from the harbour.
Sitesh Sil (2 years ago)
best place in the lerici to have a panoramic view of the mediterrainian sea and pastel coloured buildings of lerici town...the castle entry is free
Oana Panduru (2 years ago)
Lerici is for sure one of the underated place of Italy. This is an fantastic place. Extremely beautiful and tourist friendly. The view from the castle is simply amazing and breathtaking. The port is filled with little boats. On the city streets you can find lots and lots of fantastic restaurants with authentic italian taste- family owned ones with care and love for food. Definitely recommend it. Bonus: the sand of the little beach is simply great.
Vivin Thomas (2 years ago)
You can't enter the castle but the view from up top is quite nice
Anna Cortez (2 years ago)
Beautiful medival castle that sits on the top of the hill. Totally worth visiting if you are in Lerici. From there you have a stunning view of the city and overlooking the Gulf of Poets
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Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.