The Visconti Castle of Massino is located on the Vergante hills in the municipality of Massino Visconti. Since the 12th century it has been a possession and one of the preferred residences of the Visconti of Milan. At that time it was frequented by the family ancestor of the lords and dukes of Milan. Afterwards its property was transferred to other collateral branches of the lineage, from the initial Visconti di Massino to the current Visconti di San Vito.
The vast view that can be seen from the site of the castle, covering the Lake Maggiore and the territory beyond it, is supposed to be the motivation of the initial interest of the Visconti of Milan, leading them to the acquisition of the Massino court from the Abbey of Saint Gall in 1134.
A first mention of a fortification goes back to the 9th century, when Massino became prerogative of Engelberga, wife of the Emperor Louis II of Italy. The settlement was then donated to the monastery of San Sisto in Piacenza, then transferred to the Abbey of Saint Gall. In 1134 Guido Visconti son of Ottone was invested by the Sangalese monks of their properties and rights in Massino. Eight years later the investiture was confirmed by King Conrad III. Since then it has always been a possession of Visconti families.
In 1823 the property of the castle was transferred from the Visconti di Massino (a Visconti cadet branch originated from Ottone, the eldest son of Guido) to the Visconti d'Aragona. In 1863 it was acquired from the Visconti of Aragon by Pietro Pallestrini, scholar, author of an industrial review of the Verbano and mayor of Massino, who restored it and then transmitted it to the Visconti di San Vito another Visconti collateral lineage. Part of the furniture and the archive of the Visconti d'Aragona were moved to the Visconti Castle of Somma Lombardo, another estate house of the Visconti di San Vito.
At the beginning of the 20th century the importance of the Visconti Castle in the local history has led the municipality of Massino to rename itself Massino Visconti. The town can be reached by the Genova Voltri-Gravellona Toce highway, Meina exit. After the first houses the castle appears in its imposing dimensions near the church of Santa Maria. Three towers remain of the castle: two of them on both sides of the southern gate, perhaps the original entrance, surmounted by the usual Biscione. At the center of the castle stands the main tower. The courtyard of the castle ends with a terrace towards the village and the Lake Maggiore. On this side stands out a loggia open for public announcements to the village.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".