The Visconti Castle of Crenna is linked to the fame of Lodrisio Visconti, who raised against and then reconciled with the members of the family of his cousin Matteo Visconti, Lord of Milan. In the 14th century, the castle underwent expansion and destruction according to the alternative fortunes of Lodrisio.
The Visconti Castle is located on the top of the hill overlooking the Arno valley, open on the opposite side to the plain toward Milan. The location, favoring the control of the territory, is believed to be at the origin of the initial settlements and fortifications.
The castle is mentioned for the first time in 1160. At the end of the 13th century, it was received by Pietro Visconti with other nearby castles (Besnate, Orago and Jerago) as part of a division between him and his nephews Matteo and Uberto, sons of his brother Teobaldo. In the neighbouring Gallarate, Teobaldo, after being captured by members of the opposite faction supporting the Della Torre family, was executed in 1276.
The castle was inherited by Lodrisio, son of Pietro, who greatly expanded it. In the meantime his cousin Matteo became Lord of Milan. After the death of Matteo in 1322, a conflict between Lodrisio and his sons aroused. Lodrisio was dislodged from Crenna and the castle destroyed. After having put together the Compagnia di San Giorgio, a company of mercenaries, in 1339 he was finally defeated in Parabiago by an army led by Azzone, grandson of Matteo. Lodrisio later reconciled with their cousins and the castle was subsequently restored.
The family branch originated by Lodrisio assumed the surname of Visconti di Crenna. Along generations, divisions among brothers lead to the fragmentation of the area surrounding the castle. In the 16th and 17th centuries the building underwent changes and adaptations after further family divisions.
Heavily transformed during the late 19th and the first decades of the 20th century, the area of the ancient castle is today partly surrounded by recent buildings. A tower and other constructions in the form of revival caste are visible from the center of Crenna. The castle can be seen from the distance at the top of the Crenna hill.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.