The Castle of Levanto used to be part of the former defensive system of Levanto, the city walls, dating back to the 12th century, when the region was under the rule of the Malaspina family. The castle and the walls have been repeatedly mentioned in sundry historical documents, such that what is certain is the caste was extensively renovated during the 16th century. During the 17th century, the edifice was used as headquarters of the Captaincy of Levanto, but it was also used as prison under the rule of the Genovese.
Architecturally speaking, the castle consists of a square-based structure and an imposing circular tower. There are all sorts of decorative motifs which embellish the complex, of which the most notable are the ones reminiscent of the historical conflict between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, as well as two bas-reliefs: one depicting the Annunciation and the other rendering Saint George defeating the Dragon.
Despite the fact the castle is at present a private property, it is a notable tourist sight in Levanto no visitor of Cinque Terre should miss out.References:
Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.
The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.
At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.
‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.
Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.
The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.
The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.