Vernazza Castle

Vernazza, Italy

Vernazza Castle was built in the 15th century as a lookout tower to protect the village from pirates. It's now largely a ruin except for the circular tower in the centre of the esplanade. 


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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy


4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ingrid Fuentes Genes (3 months ago)
A MUST! I was built in the year 1000. This place is beautiful, from above you can appreciate the town with a panoramic and unique view. To get to the top you must walk uphill, it is not an easy walk and you could get tired, so wear comfortable shoes and water, you will need it when you get up. On your way to the top you will be breathless, each hill makes you look at the Mediterranean with different eyes, the cobblestone houses are beautiful and you will walk among ancient and colorful streets. On the way you will find restaurants with a great view to eat or drink coffee. I would definitely go back, I love this place.?
Gonzalo Contreras del Solar (4 months ago)
There are many restaurants and bars around the main plaza that overlook at a man made cove. One restaurant is on the hill side with a spectacular view if the sea. However it only opens for dinner at 7PM, when sun is already gone, having a dark sea for your view. While walking through the main street, we found a one room size church, with many candles lit.
Ciprian Sfirlogea (5 months ago)
360° views of the village, mountains and sea. Is really worth it considering the entrance is only 2 Euro.
Pierre Boc (9 months ago)
Very beautiful place we had the chance to visite with my girlfriend. Must see especcialy at sunset
Brittany (10 months ago)
2 euro charge once you get near the top. There are a lot of other great views in Cinque Terre that are free. There isn't anything at the top besides the view, so decide if it is worth it to you. (Could be nice to bring lunch up.)
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The Château de Foix dominates the town of Foix. An important tourist site, it is known as a centre of the Cathars. Built on an older 7th-century fortification, the castle is known from 987. In 1002, it was mentioned in the will of Roger I, Count of Carcassonne, who bequeathed the fortress to his youngest child, Bernard. In effect, the family ruling over the region were installed here which allowed them to control access to the upper Ariège valley and to keep surveillance from this strategic point over the lower land, protected behind impregnable walls.

In 1034, the castle became capital of the County of Foix and played a decisive role in medieval military history. During the two following centuries, the castle was home to Counts with shining personalities who became the soul of the Occitan resistance during the crusade against the Albigensians. The county became a privileged refuge for persecuted Cathars.

The castle, often besieged (notably by Simon de Montfort in 1211 and 1212), resisted assault and was only taken once, in 1486, thanks to treachery during the war between two branches of the Foix family.

From the 14th century, the Counts of Foix spent less and less time in the uncomfortable castle, preferring the Governors' Palace. From 1479, the Counts of Foix became Kings of Navarre and the last of them, made Henri IV of France, annexed his Pyrrenean lands to France.

As seat of the Governor of the Foix region from the 15th century, the castle continued to ensure the defence of the area, notably during the Wars of Religion. Alone of all the castles in the region, it was exempted from the destruction orders of Richelieu (1632-1638).

Until the Revolution, the fortress remained a garrison. Its life was brightened with grand receptions for its governors, including the Count of Tréville, captain of musketeers under Louis XIII and Marshal Philippe Henri de Ségur, one of Louis XVI's ministers. The Round Tower, built in the 15th century, is the most recent, the two square towers having been built before the 11th century. They served as a political and civil prison for four centuries until 1862.

Since 1930, the castle has housed the collections of the Ariège départemental museum. Sections on prehistory, Gallo-Roman and mediaeval archaeology tell the history of Ariège from ancient times. Currently, the museum is rearranging exhibits to concentrate on the history of the castle site so as to recreate the life of Foix at the time of the Counts.