|View of Trasimeno Lake from Montegualandro Castle|
|Aerial View of Montegualandro Castle - photo from Castle's website|
Castles come in all sizes. The largest in the world is not the English Windsor (4th on the list) but Malbork Castle in Poland. Thanks to many ad-ons for a growing list of Teutonic knights, it measures in at 143,591 square meters. Compare that to the Montegualandro Castle in Italy with 3100 square meters of space and you’ve got yourself a cozy castle and a magical place to spend the night.
|Entry Gate to Montegualandro Castle|
|Key to castle's gate|
|Spikes at bottom of castle's gate|
|Inside of 12th Century Chapel|
|Exterior of 12th Century Chapel|
Perched on a hill supervising Trasimeno Lake in Umbria, the site for Montegualandro Castle dates back to the Etruscans. And Hannibal used the elevation to sequester troops before attacking the Romans in 217 BCE. From our window in the tower, we could have watched as Hannibal surprised Roman Consul Flaminio and killed 15,000 Roman troops.
Thanks to the Martis’ efforts, the castle’s title history can be traced to Charlemagne around 800 CE when the land was given to one of his officers. In the next 1200 years, it passed through several Counts and Dukes, became a (very) small independent state with its own dungeon, was occupied by Ferdinando de Medici, and later sold to the Pope. One family owned the land for over four centuries. Most recently in WWII, the Germans used it to keep an eye on troop movements in the valley below.
Today, the landscape is filled with olive orchards, decorative trees, and farms. Mountains circle the panorama. Boats crisscross Lake Trasimeno as tourists swim along the shores. A four-lane highway has replaced the dirt road from Perugia to Florence. The view is no longer tinged with anxiety and the castle walls aren’t for defense. The Martis recognized the walled enclosure is now about culture. Montegualandro has a long history of artists stopping nearby - Galileo, Michelangelo, Goethe, Byron and Stendhal. By restoring the castle according to strict Italian historical standards, Montegualandro is again a wonderful venue for artists, concerts, weddings and visitors from small town Texas.
Web Site for Montequalandro Castle