Stemma Palazzo Ducale

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Fortress of Castiglione del Lago

The Fortress

The Castle is in fact an elaborate fortification, whose construction ordered by Frederic II of Swabia, was begun around 1247. He wanted to include it in the central defensive system that, starting from Puglia, crossed the whole of Italy. The entire ancient village was destroyed and rebuilt following new parameters, possibly under the supevision of Friar Elia da Cortona, a contemporary of Saint Francis and a former general director of the franciscan order, who then moved to the imperial ranks and who was also responsible for the design of the Saint's Basilica in Assisi. On the deatb of Frederic II, three years later, Perugia took possession of one of the most solid military structures of central Italy and in the following decades decided to complete the imperial plan. The fortress has an irregular pentagonal shape with four towers in the corners and the triangular "mastio" (the highest tower) about thirty metres high. The round and the square towers to the south are from the 13th century, coeval witb the fortress; the other two round towers replaced the preceding ones in the 15th and l6th century because the round surface was a better defence against the cannonfire.

Bird's-eye view of the Fortress of Castiglione del Lago

The church of Saint Philip and Saint James, today a ruin, was the ancient early christian church of Castiglione del Lago. Originaily with three apses, it was adapted for use as the chapel of the fortress. Around the church we can still find some traces of the military garrison and of the cistern. The castle's defences were strengthened by the construction of a second wall, of which we can still see some fragments today that went from thef ront of the palace up to the highest tower. The intention was to create another barrier in case the village was captured. For this some reason the walkway in the wall between the palace and the first gate of the castle - covered in the first years of the 17th century - was provided with slits for the guns. So invaders who succeeded in scaling the high walls of the village would have had another obstacle in the inner wall beyond which they would have been exposed to fire from the walkway and the highest tower. Even if they reached the base of the "mastio" they would not bave been able to go up because the inside was empty and the access was by wooden ladders leant against a series of intermediate landings and then pulled up. On the few occasions when the castle was captured, it was the result of treacbery or agreement.

Tower of the fortress

  • The  highest  triangular tower
  • Detail of the fortress
  • View of the fortress from a tower
  • The castle of Castiglione del Lago