Point of interest
An impressive medieval fortification of Valeggio sul Mincio
Situated on the top of the hill, the Scaliger Castle dominates the town of Valeggio sul Mincio and the entire valley, maintaining the evocative majesty of medieval fortifications.
In 1117, an earthquake violently shook most of northern Italy and almost completely razed the oldest part of the manor, of which only the Torre Tonda, a unique horseshoe-shaped construction, remained standing. In 1285, the reconstruction works began at the behest of the Scaligeri family, and the expansion of the fortified area of Valeggio. In addition to the fortress and castle, an outpost was built on the banks of the River Mincio, which incorporated some houses and the small Romanesque church of Santa Maria della Maison.
In 1345, Mastino II della Scala began work on an imposing “bastia”, made up of moats and crenellated walls, interspersed with small towers, which descended from the Castle, surrounded the built-up area of Valeggio, and continued into the countryside until it joined with the Castle of Villafranca. It was the “Serraglio Scaligero,” an imposing fortification, some 16 kilometres long. The work was interrupted in 1348, due to the black plague that raged throughout entire Europe.
In the following years, the construction of this defensive system was completed, but in 1387 the Valeggio strongholds were conquered by the Visconti armies and many fortifications changed hands. Thus it was that in 1393, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of the Duchy of Milan, had a bridge connected to the castle that had a dual purpose: to guarantee transit and circulation and to defend the waters of the Mincio. The work definitely gave shape to a fortified complex unique in Europe.
During Venetian domination, towards the middle of the 16th century, the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, favouring the strategic choice of fortifying Peschiera, ceded both the Castle and the Visconti Bridge to private owners. From the end of March to the end of October, the three panoramic towers are open to the public, from which there is a splendid view of the Garda hinterland of the morainic hills, while in summer some events of the “Rassegna Estiva di Spettacolo e Cultura” are held in the inner courtyard.
Castello Scaligero, Via degli Scaligeri, Valeggio sul Mincio, VR, Italia