Category: Italy

Isola di Loreto

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 

Grotta Palazzese Restaurant in Polignano a Mar…


Grotta Palazzese Restaurant in Polignano a Mare, Italy. The limestone cliff restaurant sits 74 feet above sea level.

Lancellotti Castle

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

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.

Sammezzano Castle

Sammezzano Castle is located in Leccio in the Province of Florence, Italy. It is one of the largest examples of Moorish Revival architecture in Italy. Built around 1605 by Spanish nobleman Ximenes of Aragon, the castle sits upon a hill surrounded by 450 acres of parkland. In the 19thcentury, Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes inherited the castle, enlarging and remodeling the structure between 1853 and 1889. King Umberto I visited the castle in 1878. During WWII, German soldiers looted the area, removing Moorish fountains and statues, including an entire bridge and a grotto with a statue of Venus. After WWII, the castle served as a luxury hotel, but was closed and left vacant in 1990. The castle was purchased at auction in 1999, but still remained unoccupied as the company had economical problems. In 2013, a non-profit committee was organized to restore the palazzo. In 2014, the castle was sold to a developer of hotels, but the castle was back on auction by 2016. The non-profit continued to protect the castle in the hopes that the castle will one day be restored. In 2017, the castle was sold to Helitrope Limited Company out of Dubai for 18.1 million dollars. The castle has 365 rooms, one for every day of the year. The entire palatial villa is beautifully tiled and each room in unique. Sammezzano Castle is not open to the public. Picture Credit: Dan Raven, Darme, Martino Zegwaard

Scaliger Castle

Scaliger Castle is located in Sirmione, Italy. The 13thcentury fortress is believed to have been commissioned by Mastino I Della Scala and used by the fleet of the Scaliger family as a fortified port. The castle reinforced Verona’s defenses and served to show Mastino’s political power. Scaliger Castle is situated on a small peninsula surrounded by Lake Garda. The fortress has crenellated walls and boasts a moat and drawbridge leading up the 150 steps to the ramparts and tower. In 1405, Verona and surrounding towns were annexed to the Republic of Venice and a Venetian garrison was deployed from Scaliger Castle. New stone walls were built around the harbor at this time. The castle’s importance began to decline in the 16thcentury with the building of a new fortification stronghold in Peschiera del Garda, nevertheless the warehouses and arsenal remained at Scaliger Castle. The territories belonging to Venice were conquered during the Napoleonic Wars and French forces remained in the castle until 1814. In 1861, when the independent Italian states united, Sirmione became a part of the Kingdom of Italy. Hot thermal springs were found in Sirmoine at the end of the 19thcentury and the town became a resort area. The increased tourism to the area and the castle led to the castle’s restoration in the 20thcentury. Scaliger Castle is considered one of the most well conserved of Italy’s castles. The castle is open to the public and serves as a tourist facility and museum.

Castello DI Padernello (Padernello Castle), Pa…

Castello DI Padernello (Padernello Castle), 
Padernello, (near San Giacomo), Brescia, Italy.

The castle was built at the end of the 14th century by the Martinengo family, who owned it until the death of the last heir. After changing owners a few times, the castle was abandoned in 1961 until in 2006 the Padernello Castle Foundation started a long series of renovation projects. It has a working drawbridge and moat.

Sammezzano, aka the Castle of Sammezzano,Lecci…

Sammezzano, aka the Castle of Sammezzano,
Leccio, Reggello, Province of Florence, Tuscany, Italy.

Sammezzano is an Italian palazzo, notable for its Moorish Revival architectural style. The original palazzo was erected in about 1605 by the Spanish nobleman, Ximenes of Aragon. In the 19th century, Ferdinand Panciatichi Ximenes inherited the property. Between 1853 and 1889, he remodeled it into one of the largest examples of Moorish Revival architecture.

Castel Nuovo (“New Castle”), aka Maschio Angio…

Castel Nuovo (“New Castle”), aka Maschio Angioino,
Piazza Municipio, Naples, Italy.

Castel Nuovo was built in 1279. The castle’s scenic location and imposing size makes it one of the main architectural landmarks of the city of Naples.

Castel del Monte (Castle of the Mount), Andria…

Castel del Monte (Castle of the Mount),
Andria, Apulia region, Italy.

Castel del Monte is a 13th-century citadel, constructed during the 1240s by the Emperor Frederick II who had inherited the lands from his mother, Constance of Sicily.

It has neither a moat nor a drawbridge leading some to conclude that it was never intended as a defensive fortress; On the other hand, archaeological work has suggested that it originally had a curtain wall, so what we see today might be just the keep of the original castle complex.

The Castel del Monte is a World Heritage Site, and appears on the Italian version of the one-cent euro coin.