Go to castles – Castello Scaligero
A fortress protected by water
By Rachele Callegari
Symbol of Valeggio and reachable with a quick walk from the town centre, the Castello Scaligero dominates from the hill on which the entire Mincio valley is located and for centuries it has been one of the safest points for crossing the river.
Of the oldest part, which was lost in an earthquake on the 3rd of January 1117, only the Round Tower, dating back to the 10th century, remains standing today. The reconstruction began in 1285 instructed by the Scaligeri family: the castle and the fortress were rebuilt, the part currently open to visitors, plus an outpost on the banks of the river was added. In 1345, Mastino II della Scala started an important fortification work consisting of walls, towers and moats, but the works were interrupted three years later due to the outbreak of the Black Death. They were completed in the following years but they were not enough to defend the fortress from the Visconti, who conquered it in 1393. The most important remodelling was done by Gian Galeazzo Visconti: he built a bridge-dam that connected the Castle to the Rocca, with the double purpose of serving as a transit place and a water defense system. Even today it is a unique fortress throughout Europe.
During the period of the Serenissima, the Castle was subject to a slow process of decay and the Republic, favouring Pescara as a stronghold, gave it to private families. In recent years, various redevelopment works have been carried out and every summer, shows and film screenings are held in the inner courtyard of the Castle.