Cereseto castle and its secrets

Cereseto is about 50 kilometres east of Turin and about 30 kilometres northwest of Alessandria, Northern Italy. Probably established around 500–600 AD. and mentioned in records of the Bishop of Asti from around 957 AD., it is perched on a hill, and is dominated by its castle. The town was the property of the Graseverto family of Asti, who probably built the first castle around 900–1000 AD, but completely demolished in 1600. It was 1910 when the financier Riccardo Gualino and his wife launched construction of a new castle with…

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In the Footsteps of wizard Merlin: Tintagel castle and underneath cave

High on the jagged cliffs of England’s southwestern coastline lies not only the remains of an abandoned castle but the mythical birthplace as well of one of most popular legends: King Arthur. And in the coastal cliffs beneath Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, lies an echoingly atmospheric cave. But, if the stories of old are to be believed, the cave may once have been home to Merlin, the popular wizard of Arthurian legend. Tintagel Castle has long been linked with King Arthur, as far back as Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his…

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Peveril Castle: impressive ruins in the heart of England.

The imposing ruins of Peveril Castle (also known as Peak Castle or Castleton Castle) rise above the charming village of Castleton in the English county of Derbyshire. It is one of the first Norman fortifications in England, even mentioned in the Domesday Book, a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. For many years the castle was forgotten, covered over time with lush vegetation. The first cleaning and minor conservation operations were carried…

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Caracciolo Castle: an abandoned jewel in the heart of Abruzzo – Italy

Tocco da Casauria loses its origins between history and legend. The first information of an inhabited place in this territory is in the year 872. It was the primitive village of Tocco, so called because the term probably would mean “village on the rock”. A favorable and particularly strategic position then allowed that over time this small village became one of the most important social and cultural centers of the region. The epithet Casauria, on the other hand, will be added only much later, in 1862 to seal the link…

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The macabre legend of Houska Castle, about 50 km distance from Prague.

In the second half of the 13th century, a mysterious Gothic castle was built in the forests north of Prague. It wasn’t near any water, it is never been a strategic battle location, and didn’t seem to have anyone living in it. It was not built to repel attacks or to keep something out. So why was this random fortress built? It was built to hold something in and, as story goes, It was built to close the gateway to hell. According to local legend, it was meant to trap…

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Rocca Calascio: the highest castle in Italy

Rocca Calascio is considered one of the most fascinating places In the world and is immersed in an unique landscape telling the tale of a territory that is still largely to be discovered. Its story starts in the Middle Ages near the Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in central Italy. The castle is located in the municipality of Calascio, in the province of L’Aquila and lies within the National Park of the Gran Sasso and Mountains of the Laga. Perched atop a rocky peak 1,460 meters above sea level, Rocca…

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Love and Death in the Castle of Gradara, Italy

We are in Italy, on the border between Marche and Romagna regions. Here a medieval fortress towers over Gradara: it is a castle where love and death entangled for centuries. Built around 1150 on a hill 142 meters above sea level, with the Republic of San Marino, Rimini and Carpegna in the background, the Castle and village of Gradara, enclosed by two rows of city walls, are one of the best-preserved examples of Medieval architecture in Italy and represents an extraordinary urban and architectural combination. The atmosphere of its superb…

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The Poison Gardens of Alnwick Castle, England.

We all know that among the features that make England famous in the world there are the green lawns and the perfect beautiful gardens. But there is an exception. The garden of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is not exactly an idyllic place: the sign at the garden gate reads “These Plants Can Kill”! Behind big black gates, the carefully curated garden contains about 100 popular killers like Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Strychnos nux-vomica (strychnine), and Conium maculatum (hemlock). Guides explain their deadly properties while keeping ne’er-do-wells and curious children away…

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The Intriguing History of Predjama Castle, Slovenia, built into the side of a cave

The wonderful Predjama Castle, Slovenia, seems like it belongs in a fantasy world, but the real history behind this Renaissance castle is much more interesting than its exterior charm. It has been built into the mouth of a cave and sits about 10 kilometers from the village of Postojna in south-central Slovenia, and tells a picturesque story about the times when comfort had to give way to safety, and when the clatter of weapons would often drown out troubadours’ songs. Surprisingly, the current castle isn’t the first building to sit…

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Abruzzo, Italy: the ruins of San Pio delle Camere Castle

The castle of San Pio delle Camere, today a ruin, is clinging to the slopes of Monte Gentile, looking out from the mountain to control the valley below and the area corresponding to the famous Tratturo Magno, which connected L’Aquila to Foggia. The fort was located upstream of the village and initially served as a refuge for the surrounding populations and for their livestock, in cases of greater danger. The first information about the castle dates back to 1173, when it was a fiefdom of the barons from Poppleto. The…

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The castle that dominates the Italian city of Este.

The Castle that dominates the city of Este, near Padova, in Northern Italy, consists of large towers and a mighty city wall, about one kilometer long, which embraces the extreme southern extension of the Euganean Hills. This building testifies to the role of primary importance that the Este territory played in the Middle Ages. The oldest part of the current fortification consists of a circle of walls with the remains of a small church and the foundations of a small tower, probably dating back to the 6th century AD. The…

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Albano Castle: a beautiful Roman building totally abandoned.

Historically, It seems that this castle could date back to the Roman age: from the Roman era remains in fact a tile with a funerary inscription. From the tenth century, under the Episcopate of Attone, Albano was among the Vercelli church, and possession of the Bishop of Vercelli was confirmed with the imperial diplomas of Otto III (999) and of Federico Barbarossa (1152) until 1179, when a part was sold to the Municipality of Vercelli. After being the property of various families (Tizzoni, Avogadro and De Albano), in 1335 the…

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Greece: The ruins of Old Navarino Castle

We are in Greece, where the ruins of a 13th-century fortress perched above a really breathtaking Mediterranean bay. Once an important observation place, it was built in Greece in the 13th century by the Franks, on the ruins оf an anсient аcrοpolis. Its strategic location made it a prime spot for protecting the bay and as such, it endured centuries of attacks and sieges. The Venetians gained control of the fortress in the 15th century, but soon the Ottomans attempted to stake their claim to the castle. The fortress passed…

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Crecchio Castle, history, legends and Byzantines!

The castle, of Norman-Swabian origin, was built around a watchtower around the 11th-12th centuries. The original tower, called “normanna” and “dell’ulivo”, part of a territorial defensive system, was visually connected with other towers in the surround, like the Mucchia tower (on the coast) and with the city of Lanciano and Guardiagrele inside. To it are linked many legends related to the cruelty of one of its owners who, ruling these places with terror, beheaded its opponents on the highest tower, that of sighting. The tower became a symbol of terror…

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The Roman lighthouse at the medieval castle of Dover is the oldest building in England.

Dover Castle in Kent is known as the “key to England” for its defensive importance in the last 2 millennia of history. The medieval fortress dates back to the eleventh century and is the largest and most important castle in England. The site may have been fortified already during the Iron Age, long before the Romans attacked Britain (in 43 AD with the emperor Claudius). Such an ancient date is suggested by the form of the embankments unusual for a medieval castle. The archaeological excavations suggest anthropic activities in the…

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The Medieval Castle of Chillingham: the most haunted castle in Britain!

Chillingham Castle is a medieval castle in the village of the same name in Northumberland, England. From the fifteenth century until the eighties it was the home of the Gray and Bennet families, until Sir Humphry Wakefield bought the property, also marrying a member of the Gray family. Around the castle there is the “Chillingham Cattle”, a very rare herd of cattle with about 90 animals. The history of the castle is very long and has its roots in the low medieval period. In 1298 King Edward I passed by…

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The Frankenstein Castle where the Alchemist who inspired Mary Shelley was born.

The Frankenstein Castle, near Darmstadt in Germany, looms over the surrounding countryside since many centuries. The area was colonized by the Franks in the 6th century, and some of them were called Frankenstein (the stone of the Franks). The castle was built in the 13th century, and during the Middle Ages saw many Frankenstein knights enlist, one of whom went to fight against Vlad the Impaler, commonly known as Dracula. Throughout the history of the Castle, his strangest resident was probably Johann Konrad Dippel, a writer, preacher, theologian, mad scientist…

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Witches from Abruzzo: popular legends in Roccascalegna’s area.

In the territory of Roccascalegna, according to the popular tradition, there are numerous places linked to legends of various kinds. It is said, for example, that the ruins of a house, still located on a plateau and known as “the fairy house”, are visited by some flying entities defined by some witches, by others fairies. In the popular tales, in fact, these two figures are similar and are often confused. Of true, there is that in that point, after the Italy’s unification, in 1861, there was a bloody battle between…

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The strange story of the “Scottish Castle” on Pollepel Island in New York.

Approximately 80 kilometers north of New York, and just 300 meters from the eastern bank of the Hudson River, there is a small rocky island called Pollepel, on which the remains of what appears to be a dilapidated Scottish castle stand out. In fact they witness the birth and fall of an empire … Its story goes hand in hand with Francis Bannerman, who was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1851, and arrived in the United States at the age of three, along with his family, who settled in New…

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Roccascalegna: history and legends from the medieval castle in the heart of Abruzzo.

Roccascalegna is a small town situated at 455 meters above sea level, in a valley right of the Rio Secco, a tributary of the Aventino river, in the inner mountains of the province of Chieti, midway between the mountains and the sea; its 1400 inhabitants are called roccolani. In all likelihood, the founders of Roccascalegna were the Longobards who, since 600 AD, permanently occupied the actual Molise and southern Abruzzo, after having descended from northern Italy. Consequence of this was the alignment of the Byzantine garrisons on the shores of…

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Spanish Fortress: the castle of L’Aquila

The Spanish Fortress of L’Aquila know as “il Castello” by the Aquilans, is one of the most impressive Renaissance castle in Central/Southern Italy and was built in the 16th century, when the city had become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom after Naples. In 1528, to punish the citizens for their rebellion, Viceroy Filiberto of Orange ordered to build a fortress in the highest spot North of the city, according to the project of a renowded Spanish architect, Don Pirro Aloisio Escriva, also a great expert of firearms.…

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Klever Gate: the towers that defied demolition, now a fairytale vacation rental.

A story with a happy ending that of these incredible tenacious 14th-century towers survived of a demolition and now a fairytale vacation rental. Built in 1393, these are the last medieval city gates in the historic city of Xanten, on the banks of the River Rhine. They’re so well-built that a demolition attempt in the 19th century failed to raze them. The two towers were built by the cities of Kleve and Cologne, which shared administrative responsibility for Xanten in the 14th century. Once they were joined together by a…

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The ruins of Choustník castle, history and legends.

There are, of course, some legends linked to the Choustník castle, located in the South of Czech Republic. Perhaps the most popular is about the origin of the castle. A beautiful and brave magician fell in love with the daughter of Emperor Bedrich Rudobrad. The Princess returned his love, but the Emperor was contrary to their love. The lovers therefore fled, and after a long travel they settled in the region of Tábor and built a castle. After a while the emperor forgot his anger and went to look for…

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The ruin of Hrad Zlenice

Zlenice castle was built after 1300 on a rock promontory above the confluence of the Mnichovický creek and the Sázava river. The name of this castle was mentioned first time in 1318, was named after the deserted settlement of Zlenice on the opposite bank of the Sázava river. There were ramparts, a lower castle, stables, and granaries, and the Mnichovsky creek flew around the castle making it thus accessible from two sides only with a draw bridge. At the beginning of the second half of the 14th century this area belonged…

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Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a wonderful medieval castle lost in France.

The Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers is a medieval castle located in the middle of a wood near the village of Les Trois-Moutiers, in the Poitou-Charentes region of France. The castle dates back to the thirteenth century, when it was the stronghold of the Bauçay family, directly dependent of the King of France. During the Middle Ages it was conquered twice by the English, and then became one of the most famous places for sumptuous parties and vast events. During the French Revolution it was sacked and abandoned, but at the…

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Burg Eltz: A great medieval castle owned by the same family for over 800 Years.

The burg Eltz is a majestic castle located on the top of a rock within a small wooded valley in western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Probably for luck or strategy, we don’t know the reasons, the castle has been mostly spared from the ravages of war, in fact it is also famous for being one of the few German castles on the left side of the Rhine river to have been left unscathed over the centuries. Probably one of the reason is that the Elzbach River, a tributary on the…

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Burg Hohenzollern, one of the most visited castles in Germany.

Hohenzollern Castle, in German Burg Hohenzollern, is the ancestral abode of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. Swabian counts and princes, the kings of Prussia and even the German emperors have their roots here at Hohenzollern Castle in the heart of Baden-Württemberg between Lake Constance, the Black Forest and Stuttgart. The proud fortress on conical mount Zoller offers majestic panoramic views over more than 100 kilometres which already prompted Emperor William II to say: “The views from Hohenzollern Castle are truly worth the journey”. The first fortress on the mountain was…

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A small trip down the three towers of San Marino, Guaita, Cesta and Montale.

This time we speak about the Three Towers of San Marino a group of towers, located on the three peaks of Monte Titano and depicted on both the national flag and coat of arms. The first Tower, the Guaita, is the first Tower built in San Marino and the most famous, and dates back to the 11th century. Over the years it was enlarged and rebuilt numerous times, and achieved utmost splendour in the XV century during the war that San Marino fought and win against the Malatesta Family from…

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The Castle of Monselice, and its three different historic periods.

The majestic architectural complex of the castle of Monselice, is a collection of different buildings and three different historical periods. Between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries the castle (born as a military and defensive bulwark), has been transformed into a stately home, until it became a Venetian villa during the Renaissance period. The oldest part consists of two buildings built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The second part consists of the great tower of Ezzelino, which takes its name from its famous developer, Ezzelino III, vicar of Emperor Federico…

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Peschiera’s Castle, the oldest possession in Lombardy of the Borromeo family.

The Borromeo Castle of Peschiera (Peschiera Borromeo – Milan) is the oldest possession in Lombardy of the Borromeo family, originally from San Miniato in Tuscany. The Borromeo, who were merchants and bankers, moving to Lombardy had developed their commercial and financial activities abroad, and in 1435, the Banco Filippo Borromeo & Compagni set up a branch in London to increase traffic with United Kingdom too. In 1432, Vitaliano Borromeo obtains from the Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, who had for him high esteem, the right to fortify Peschiera which, born as…

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