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Castelvecchio: A Splendid Verona Castle

This famous Verona castle was built in the 14th century by Cangrande “Rabid Dog” della Scala to protect Verona from rival bosses and kingdoms.

Scaliger Castle

This castle was the setting for a violent family drama that puts even the Soprano family to shame.

The family involved this time was the Scaliger family, a family not known for their trust in others, and with good reason. Their lives resembled a dramatic saga of feuds, assassinations, and, at times, even fratricide.

The castle, with its imposing structure and fortified walls, was designed to withstand the ever-present threats to their dominion and to serve as a last refuge, complete with a hidden escape route—the Ponte Scaligero—leading north to Austria, a lifeline should the locals, or other noble families, rise against their oppressive rule.

In fact, Cangrande wasn't killed by unhappy peasants but by his own brother, and a few decades later the entire family did have to flee north across the bridge, settling in Germany. Actually, their lives were a little like an ancient Mafia movie, only more violent.

Within the walls of this medieval fortress, centuries of power struggles and intrigue have played out. The Scaliger Castle is a time capsule of a bygone era, where the echoes of power and betrayal still resonate in its stone walls.

You can wander around the castle grounds, but to get up onto the walls, into the towers, and explore the museum, you'll need to pay a small fee to get in. Its halls house exquisite sculptures, intricate jewelry, and a vast collection of armaments, dating from the 12th century onwards, that tell stories of battles fought and alliances forged. 

As you wander through the castle's chambers, one can't help but be drawn to the weapons room, where the brutality of the past comes alive. The 14th-century statues, crafted by the Sant'Anastasia group, exude a captivating aura; their arrangement within the display room is both poignant and slightly eerie.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this fortress is the work of the visionary architect Carlo Scarpa. Many people reckon the museum to be the masterpiece of his illustrious career. To be honest, I am a bit clueless and had never heard of him, but now I'm impressed—great guy!

As a local history buff pointed out to me, "Scarpa's restoration of the Scaliger Castle is a masterpiece of architectural ingenuity." His influence on the castle's transformation cannot be overstated. It's a testament to his dedication to preserving history while breathing new life into ancient stones.

The Scaliger Castle, with its evocative history, has been resurrected as a guardian of the past, thanks to the architectural brilliance of Carlo Scarpa. It's a destination where every stone speaks of a tumultuous era, where the legacy of a brutal family's rise and fall is etched into the very walls.

Visiting the Scaliger Castle is like stepping into the heart of a medieval epic, where power, betrayal, and architectural genius converge.

This is Game of Thrones in real life.

This architectural gem is the most important Scaliger castle, but, it is only one of several scattered throughout the Veneto region, each with its own story to tell. Sirmione's castle, with its dramatic backdrop of azure waters, is the most beautiful of them all and holds a special place in my heart. 

Fountain in Scaliger Castle

Looking for more castles in Venice, Verona or anywhere else in Italy? Maybe even a haunted house or two? Why not try the search engine below.

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