Castelvecchio – The Dreamboat of North Italy (History & Travel Tips)

-

A magnificent fortification with a marvelous view, Castelvecchio is a crown jewel of northern Italy. This site will leave you mesmerized with its incredible fairytale-like architecture and proud collection of heritage dating all the way back to the 14th century. Here’s everything you need to know about it:

The castle houses a number of iconic paintings from the Renaissance era, including the  Madonna of the Quail created by Pisanello.

The walls and towers of Castelvecchio.
The walls and towers of Castelvecchio. Ввласенко, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Advertisements

Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

Construction (14th century)

Castelvecchio was constructed by Lord Cangrande II Della Scala in the mid to late 1300s. This complex of strong fortifications and mighty towers was built by Scala as a defense structure against the surrounding clans of Venice, Gonzaga, and Sforza. Castelvecchio, along with Castelvecchio Bridge, was built over the Adige River. The bridge was constructed as an escape route towards Tyrol in the event of a coup or a revolt.

Castelvecchio in the 1900s.
Castelvecchio in the 1900s. Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Over 4 Centuries (14th-18th Centuries)

The fortress was a symbol of the Scaliger family’s stronghold over Verona in the 1200-1300s. In the 14th century, they eventually lost power over the region owing to internal conflicts. In the early 15th century, Verona came under the control of the Venetian Republic, resulting in the transformation of Castelvecchio into an arsenal storage unit. Later, it became a Venetian Military Academy.

Castelvecchio in the 1930s.
Castelvecchio in the 1930s. Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

18th Century Onwards

Castelvecchio was utilized as a barracks during a revolt against the French occupation in the year 1797 and was quite an actively involved site throughout the rebellion. It suffered damage at the hands of Napoleon’s troops during this time. Napoleon used to take residence inside Castelvecchio while he visited. However, due to his continued encroachment of the properties of citizens and the church as well as the forced induction of men into the French army, a mass uprising was led against the French which finally drove the invaders out.

The Museum inside Castelvecchio.
The Museum inside Castelvecchio. Castelvecchio Museum – Verona Italy flickr photo by Thanate Tan shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Current Times

In the second world war, the bridge of the castle was destroyed by the Germans. It was then reconstructed in 1949. A number of restoration projects took place afterward to revive the castle.

Castelvecchio now houses the Castelvecchio Museum as well as the local officer’s club. The latter can be visited by passing through the left entrance on Corso Cavour.

The tower of Castelvecchio at sunset.
The tower of Castelvecchio at sunset. Ввласенко, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Castelvecchio Facts

  • The dry ditch around the castle was once filled with water from the Adige River close by.
  • The latest remodeling (as opposed to upkeep work) of the castle was done in the year 1957 by Carlo Scarpa.
  • The castle houses a number of iconic paintings from the Renaissance era, including the  Madonna of the Quail created by Pisanello.
  • The castle also has a statue of Cangrande I Della Scala dating back to the Middle Ages.

Visiting Castelvecchio – Tips and Tricks

Picturesque and brimming with history, Castelvecchio is definitely an excellent destination to visit. If you’re in the area, here’s everything you need to know about planning a visit:

Visiting tourists around Castelvecchio's castle grounds.
Visiting tourists around Castelvecchio’s castle grounds. Castelvecchio flickr photo by amodelofcontrol shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

How to get to Castelvecchio?

From Rome, you can get to Castelvecchio via bus or car. The most recommended and least expensive way to travel to this castle in Italy, is by taking the bus from Rome to L’Aquila and then taking a taxi from L’Aquila down to Castelvecchio. The whole journey would take you around an hour and 40 minutes and cost you around €71-€88 ($80-$100 USD).

You can also take the bus from Rome Tiburtina bus station all the way to L’Aquila and then take a short walk onwards to the castle. This journey would take you 2 and a half hours while the prices may vary. 

The second way to go is via car. This journey would take you around an hour and 40 minutes, with an approximate fuel cost between €18-€26.5 ($20-$30 USD).

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

Ticket prices at Castelvecchio are €6 ($7 USD) per person. There are two reduced-price tickets as well. The first is €4.5 ($5 USD) for seniors and groups of 15 or more people. The second, at €1 (just over $1 USD), is reserved for accompanied children ages 8-14. Children 7 or younger and Verona residents over the age of 65, along with the disabled and their caretaker (with a Verona Card) can enter for free.

Visiting hours of the castle are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Tuesday to Sunday, with the final entrance at 5:30 pm. Castelvecchio is closed on Mondays, as well as Nov. 1st, Dec. 25th, & Jan. 1st each year.

Castelvecchio's night view.
Castelvecchio’s night view. Zairon, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

Touring the castle can take from 1 to 2 hours.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Take the audio guide in order to immerse yourself in an enlightening learning experience along with your leisurely visit.
  • Keep an eye out for event and exhibition dates to witness the castle in all its culturally festive glory.
  • The museum inside the castle is a definite must-visit if you wish to view the castle’s elegant collection of heritage objects. 
  • Take a walk in the castle grounds in order to immerse yourself in the beautiful surrounding scenery.
  • You can have a scrumptious snack time in the nearby Italian restaurant close to the bus stop.
  • The castle is bike-friendly!
  • If you are looking to seek an economical tour of Verona’s historical sites and monuments, get the Verona Card. It would let you tour the castle at extremely economical rates.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Castelvecchio Areas

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE EPIC HISTORY
Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira Ghazal
Zunaira is an architect and designer on paper, but a writer at heart. She’s got a Bachelors in Architecture and a passion for traveling, both of which combine in her writings about timeworn castles and fortresses that have withstood the tests of time and stand proud to this day.

FOLLOW US

26,021FansLike
4,329FollowersFollow
28FollowersFollow