Peterhof Palace is located in Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Built by Peter the Great between 1714-1723, the large complex boasts grand palaces and sits on 500 acres with 144 fountains, extensive gardens, and over 200 statues. There is a narrow canal called the Sea Channel that leads from the Bay of Finland to the complex, which allowed visitors to sail through the tree-lined channel to the palace. The majority of water fountains are decorated with gilt statues, the fountains operate by using force gravity instead of pumps. The Grand Cascade is an ornate terrace where water flows down the multitude of levels. Several fountains surround it and there’s an artificial grotto beneath the cascades. The largest palace in the complex is the Grand Palace, which has been enlarged and renovated through the centuries. Peter created the palace to impress and to serve as a statement that the Russian Empire should be admired. Peter drew inspiration from the French court of Versailles and other royal sites he visited before he commissioned the palace. The palace served as a residence for Russian royalty for over 200 years, until the empire ended in 1917. After the Russian revolution, the complex became an educational center. During WWII, German forces damaged the complex, but the structures were rebuilt. Since then, Peterhof has served as a park and museum and has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Peterhof Palace is one of Russia’s most famous sites and nicknamed by some as “The Russian Versailles.”
The Castle of Val is located in the town of Lanobre and sits on the edge of Lake Bort-les-Orgues in the region of Artense in France. There’s a footbridge that leads to the castle. The castle began as a fief in the 13thcentury and was owned by the Tinières family, then sold to Pierre de Pierrefort.It was William IV of Estaing, chamberlain to King Charles VII, governor and seneschal of Rouergue, and bailiff of Nimes, who purchased Val and built the current castlein the 15thcentury. The castle changed hands many times through the centuries. In the mid-20thcentury,the castle was owned by the French Electricity board and suffered from neglect. At one point the castle sat on a park setting, but over the decades the artificial lake covered the park due to the dam that was built. In 1953, the castle was purchased by the local municipality of Bort les Orgues, who restored the castle and turned it into a tourist attraction. The castle boasts six crowned towers with machicolations. The main courtyard has a Gothic vault that is dedicated to Saint-Blaise. The interior has large rooms on the lower floor decorated in the 19thcentury style, while the upper floor is reserved for contemporary art exhibits. There’s also a 15thcentury chapel on the property. Val Castle is open to the public. #France #Castles #CastleOfVal #ValCastle #Lanobre #LakeBort
Isola di Loreto is an island in Lake Iseo in the Lombardy region of Italy. At the end of the 15thcentury, the Sisters of Saint Clare of Brescia purchased the island and had a convent built. The convent was abandoned in 1580. The island’s history is not well documented, but a geographer mentions it in 1696. He claimed the island belonged to Count Alessandro Martinengo’s heirs. A writer, who set some of his scenes on the island, mentioned the island again in 1847. By the end of the 19thcentury, a historian wrote about the ruins and concluded that they were part of a fortress that was built before 1500. The island became the property of Duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa and was then sold to Vincenzo Richeri, a captain of the Royal Navy. It was Richeri who built the neo-gothic castle that is seen today. The castle has two light towers, a small port, and gardens of conifers. The two-story villa has a crenellated tower. The castle is privately owned and not open to the public, but tourists can admire the island from a ferry or during the “Tour of the Islands.” Photo credit: Fondazione Lombardia Film Commission & Mt Much More
Belhurst Castle is located in the city of Geneva in the state of New York, United States. The castle sits on the shores of Seneca Lake and once served as a private residence. The property that surrounds the castle was originally the site of a Seneca Indian village and home to the Council of the six nations of Iroquois. Built between 1885-1889, the three-story castle was designed in the Romanesque Revival style and made with Medina sandstone. The castle has a gable roof, a solarium, bay windows, porches, and towers. In 1933, the castle was used as a gambling casino and a speakeasy during the prohibition era. In 1952, the gambling stopped and the castle was transformed into a hotel and winery. The interior boasts two ballrooms, two restaurants, a spa, a salon, and a winery. Belhurst Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Properties and voted one of the Most Romantic Places in New York State. All three buildings on the property offer accommodations. The Chambers in the Castle offers eleven period designed guest rooms, as well as two cottages and a ranch home. White Springs Manor is a Georgian Revival mansion that is more secluded and overlooks the vineyards. The Vinifera Inn has views of Seneca Lake for those who stay in the turret guest rooms; all the rooms at the inn have a fireplace and Jacuzzi.
Cluny Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The castle was built in 1604 in a Z-plan design, which has a rectangular tower and smaller towers attached at opposite corners. It was Sir Thomas Gordon’s son, John Gordon who built the castle to replace an earlier house. By 1636, debt and reconstruction caused a financial burden and creditors mostly held the property until 1680, when it became the property of Robert Gordon. Cluny Castle passed between various branches of the Gordon family for close to 400 years. The castle served as a shelter against the Jacobite rebels in the 18thcentury. Colonel Gordon further extended the castle with several additions around 1820. This work took several years as the old castle was covered in granite to blend in with the new extensions. The estate went into a trust since Colonel Gordon had no heirs. Two wings of the castle and the adjoining chapel were destroyed by fire in 1926, but were restored. After the death of the colonel’s wife, the estate was passed to his cousin, Charles Arthur Linzee, who adopted the name Linzee Gordon to comply with the codicil on Colonel Gordon’s will. As of 2016, the castle has been privately owned by the Baron of Cluny, Cosmo Linzee Gordon, who did extensive renovations to the castle. Cluny Castle has circular towers, arched windows, and crenellated parapets all nestled in acres of parkland down a tree-lined drive. Cluny Castle is not open to the public, but it is available for corporate events and weddings in the chapel. #Castles #ClunyCastle #Scotland #Aberdeenshire #WeddingVenue #CastleWeddings
Batalha Monastery is located in Batalha, Portugal. In 1385, the Gothic monastery was built for the Virgin Mary to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castilians. The abbey took over a century to build with the construction ending in 1517. The monastery stands apart from the town. The abbey has three buttresses and massive pilasters on the west side of the building, while the east side holds a chapter house for the church choir. The northern side of the complex houses the Tomb of Unknown Warriors. The church is big but narrow in proportion with its height of 106 feet. The church has no ornamental statues, but it does have 10 stained glass windows representing scenes from the lives of Christ and Mary, the Visitation, the Epiphany, and more. The square Founders’ Chapel has three bay windows and a central octagon buttressed by eight piers, decorated with Gothic crickets (a hook shaped decorative element) and arches. The abbey also has unfinished chapels located in an octagonal structure that is attached to the choir of the church, which is only accessible from the outside. The Chapterhouse is overseen by two sentinels who guard the tombs of two unknown soldiers killed in WWI; it serves to remind visitors the military reasons behind the building of the abbey. This square room was created in a star vault design and constructed by condemned prisoners, since this design lacked a central support and was considered a daring building concept at the time. The Renaissance stained glass window in the east wall dates from 1508 and depicts the scene of the Passion. Batalha Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public.
Chatsworth House is located in Derbyshire, England. The property is mentioned in the 11thcentury and serves as the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire. The property was a small estate until the 15thcentury when the Leche family built a house on the high ground in the southeastern section of the garden. The home was sold to Sir William Cavendish, Treasurer of the King’s Chamber in 1549 and has been home to the Cavendish family ever since. Cavendish’s wife, Bess of Hardwick began to build a new Tudor mansion with a large central courtyard by the river in 1553. The mansion sits on the east bank of the Derwent River on a huge estate that has an Elizabethan garden, heather moors, rocky hills, and woods. After the death of William, Bess remarried George Talbot, 6thEarl of Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury was entrusted with the custody of Mary, Queen of Scots and she was brought as a prisoner many times to Chatsworth House. Mary was housed on the top floor above the great hall, appropriately titled Queen of Scots room. Chatsworth was occupied by both sides during the Civil War between Parliamentarians and Royalists. The 4th Earl of Devonshire reconstructed the house in 1687; he became the 1stDuke in 1694 for helping to put William of Orange on the English throne. The 1stduke created a suite of Baroque rooms. The 2ndand 3rdDukes of Devonshire added to the homes collections of paintings, coins, Roman sculptures, and furniture. The 4th duke altered the mansion as he wished to enter his home from the west and he didn’t want to see the stables from the house. The 6thduke built a North wing to serve as a sculpture gallery, while repurposing other rooms to house his library of books. He also loved to entertain and in 1832, Princess Victoria, later Queen Victoria, visited Chatsworth house with her mother, the Duchess of Kent. In the 20thcentury, after the passing of the 8thduke, death taxes and the 6thduke’s extravagances caused the estate to be burdened with debt, which caused some of the property and books to be sold. The house has a long, fascinating history. Early in 2018, a 42 million dollars restoration project was implemented by the current 12thDuke of Devonshire. This refurbishment was instituted because the house had no Wi-Fi service. Nevertheless, the money also went toward cleaning the exterior sandstone, applying gold to the window bars, and more. The mansion has served as a backdrop for many in the film industry. Chatsworth House is open to the public and has a farmyard café.
Lancellotti Castle is located in Lauro, Italy. The castle was built in 976 A.D. in the homonym valley by the Lombard dukes. Due to the turbulent history surrounding Lancellotti Castle, the castle switched ownership many times throughout its history. In 1277, the castle was owned by Margherita de Toucy, followed by the ownership of the Principality of Salermo during the Langobardic period, the Counts of Saverino rebuilt the castle during the Norman period, and then the Pignatelli family took ownership. In 1632, the castle was purchased by the Lancellotti family, the current owners of the castle. The castle suffered through fire in 1799, which was caused by the French. The castle was rebuilt in 1872 and inaugurated by Prince Don Filippo Massimo Lancellotti. Lancellotti Castle is situated upon a hill in a 19thcentury style garden with an inner courtyard featuring a fountain and Roman architectural elements. There is a second courtyard that leads to the family chapel. The castle is made from a hodgepodge of architecture styles including Gothic, Neoclassical, Baroque, and Renaissance. The castle has square towers, crenellated walls, a secret garden, a family chapel, a music room, a weapons room, a library, and a pharmacy. Lancellotti Castle is open to the public. #ProvinceOfAvelino #Italy #Castles #Lauro #LancellottiCastle
Castello Di Rivalta is located in Rivalta in the Province of Piacenza, Italy. The Village of Rivalta is a fortified complex. The fortified castle overlooks the banks of the river Trebbia. The castle is first mentioned in a purchase in 1025 A.D. In 1048, Emperor Henry II donated the castle to the monastery of San Savino di Piacenza. Throughout the centuries the castle was at the center of many battles, sieges, and treason. The castle switched hands numerous times throughout its history, but in the 14thcentury the land was ceded to the Obizzo Landi family. The Landi family reconstructed the castle into the residence it is today. The decedents of the 14thcentury feudal family still live in the castle. The castle is designed in a quadrangular that houses more than 50 rooms. The internal arcaded courtyard is decorated with marble columns, there’s also a cylindrical tower, a dungeon, a music room, a gallery, a billiards room, and a weapons room. In the 18thcentury more trees were planted to surround the castle’s English style gardens, the façade and some of the rooms were renovated at this time. The Castle serves as a Museum of Military Costume and has a Spa and Wellness center. Castello Di Rivalta is open to the public from February to November.