Saturday, March 27, 2010

Castello di Gorizia, Italy

The Castle of Gorizia was first mentioned in a document dated April 28, 1001, in which the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III donated the castle and the village of Gorizia to the Patriarch of Aquileia John II and to Count Verihen Eppenstein of Friuli. The castle passed to Austrian Habsburg rule in the year 1500. The Habsburgs, under Emperor Maximilian I, reinforced the castle's defenses but were not able to fend off the Venetians, under the rule of Bartolomeo d' Alviano. The Republic of Venice occupied the castle briefly in 1508 and 1509. The Venetian coat of arms still hangs proudly over the entrance to the castle. The castle once again returned to the Habsburg rule in 1509 and would change hands many times between the French, Austrians, Italians, and even the Germans.

During World War I, the Castle of Gorizia suffered its first major damages in over nine centuries when it was bombed. At the end of WWI the castle was nothing more than a ruin. It was rebuilt in 1934-37 after its own 16th century design. In 1943 the castle was occupied by German troops and its north east garden was used for executions.

A visit to the castle affords stunning views over the town of Gorizia with the Alps as a backdrop. The Cappella di San Spirito, dating to 1398 stands in the foreground of the castle.