San Giorgio Castle

La Spezia, Italy

The Castle of San Giorgio, overlooking the city of La Spezia, originates from a watchtower with the first castle on the site being built in 1262 by the ruler of the area Nicolò Fieschi with the intension of strengthen his domination in the area. Today only the base portion of the watchtower is preserved and this is included in the upper part of the structure.

In 1273 the castle was destroyed by the Genoese Republic under Oberto Doria, who captured, destroyed and plundered La Spezia. Nicolò Fieschi was forced to give up all his possessions to the Republic.

A century later, in the 1370s,  the castle was replaced by a new fortification and line of walls. This has been significantly enlarged and restored over the years and in 1443 the castle underwent significant work with the addition of the structure facing the valley, the design of which also enabled firearms to be used.

A century later, in the 1550s, construction of an important defensive addition called the 'Bastia', was added. In 1607, the castle was remodelled by the Genoese taking it to its present form and today the castle provides an imposing structure displaying many of its original features with its arrow slits dating back to the 14th century. It was at this time that its current walls were built.

The castle was for many years neglected but in 1985 work started go restore and conserve it. This did involve some modifications being undertaken to restore its design to a previous age, which involved the reconstruction of the ramp and removal of walls within the complex. It also involved the covering of some parts of the pavement with grating to enable the remains of the mediaeval structures found during the restoration to be left visible.With the final stage of the work was carried out between 1996 and 1998, when the upper part of the castle was completed. The coats-of-arms of the Republic of Genoa and the bas-relief of St. George and the dragon were again placed over the gateway.

The castle today houses an Archaeological Museum which exhibits objects dating back to the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze and Iron ages. It also contains an extensive display of Roman artefacts include objects excavated from the nearby Luni settlement. The exhibits include decorative marble busts and statues, as well as household utensils, coins and religious objects.

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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tanja Blažunaj Kranjec (2 years ago)
Loved it! Absolutely stunning.
Janet Griffiths (2 years ago)
Interesting museum of archaeological finds and breathtaking views.
Silviu Andrei (2 years ago)
Visited by night during a long walk around the city ended up here and will definitely come back by day :D
Noora Malkavaara (2 years ago)
On a hot day we didn't stay for long, but still stopped to admire the view from castle's rooftop. Museum was quite small but ok, couldnt stay there for long either since the smallest kid got restless... Escalator and funicular to the top was part of the fun!
Evan Scop (2 years ago)
A small castle with a museum. You can get a nice view of the city from the castle terrace for a small fee or tack on the museum for a little more. There is also a combo pack with other museums in the area. The exhibits are displayed mostly in Italian with cards translated into several languages to get the general theme of the rooms. I think I spent about 45 minutes there.
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The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.

The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.

The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.