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.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.