Ancient villages in Lombardy
In terms of medieval towns, Lombardy is famous for its rich artistic, historical and cultural heritage, which is combined with naturalistic landscapes of unusual beauty. We are talking about places in Lombardy that are worth visiting, even though they are quieter and far away from the places frequented by tourists, but despite this, these ancient towns are quite charming.
Angera, in the province of Varese, is the center which is famous for its ancient history and in the Middle Ages it was the most important place, protected by the Rocca fortress which overlooks Lake Maggiore. The old halls of the castle are decorated with frescoes, paintings and valuable decorations. The most remarkable room from an artistic point of view is Sala di Giustizia, decorated by the master from Angera in XIII century and Hall of Mythology contains a collection of 300 Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Italian mosaics. The building consists of 5 factory buildings, built between the 11th and 17th centuries, starting from Ala Scaligera and Ala Viscontea and ending with Torre di Giovanni Visconti and Ala Borromeo. Here you can visit the Museum of Dolls and Toys. In the area near the castle there are the Giardino dei Principi garden, the vegetable garden and the Giardino delle Erbe Piccole garden, all tended by professional gardeners.
In Cavernago, in the province of Bergamo, there is a castle built in 1243, which was bought by Bartholomeo Colleoni in 1470, where he settled down after he finished his military career. The building, which can still be admired today, dates back to the 1600s and is a residential structure where the family lived and not a defensive structure by any means. The building is surrounded by a double moat that was used by the Colleoni family as a meeting place, banquets and tournaments, which was near the Roggia Borgogna canal.
A charming heart-shaped lake acts as a mirror for the medieval town of Castellaro Lagusello in the province of Mantua in the hills south of the Mantua slope of Lake Garda. The town, which can be reached through a passage with a drawbridge, is fortified by old guelph walls and is characterized by narrow streets paved with river pebbles and buildings of stone. At the entrance to the town, there is a clock tower and in the center there is the Baroque church of Man Nicola, which houses a Madonna made of wood in the 1400s. At the heart of the town stands a fortification with bifornic battlements, which was once a feudal castle.
Bienneau is a splendid little town in the province of Brescia with splendid houses, churches, ceremonial palaces and charming towers. In the past there were 10 towers and one castle, which was later reconstructed into a Benedictine monastery. The old houses of the local noble families add to the elegance and charm of the town. In the center stand out Casa Pantegoni and Casa Bettoni, built in 1483 and 1550 respectively, and Palazzo Simoni-Fè Montholon. Behind the fortress walls along the Avenida del Vazo Re one can see the blacksmiths and old mills.
On the Lake Iseo in the province of Bergamo stands Lovere, considered one of the most beautiful towns in Italy.Settled since ancient times, Lovere today is a center with historical, architectural and artistic remnants of history. Among them are the sixteenth century Municipality surrounded by columns and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, where are located the Palazzo Podestarile, Torre Civica and Torre Alghisi, which belonged to a noble family. Moreover, the town has the Accademia Tadini, a museum with works by Antoni Canova, Jacopo Bellini, Tiepolo and Hayes.
Monte Isola rises on the island of Lake Iseo, it is the largest lake island in Italy and the area is very popular among tourists. In the past, the hilltop area of Monte Isola was covered in forests and had a pagan temple. Evidence of a significant past and a long history are the villas of the Roman era. Here, the Oldofredi family built the castle of Rocca Martinengo, defending the small settlements located on the island, which then merged into a single commune in 1928. The town is known for its production of fishing nets and boats made of wood. At the top of the mountain that overlooks the island is the fifteenth-century Santuario della Madonna della Ceriola, decorated with sixteenth-century frescoes; there is also a gilded icon depicting the Virgin and Child made of wood. All in all, Monte Isola is a kind of “constellation” of small settlements surrounded by dense vegetation, where fortifications, houses with porticoes and small harbors rise up.
Pomponesco was ruled in the 16th century by Julius Caesar Gonzaga, who made a special contribution to the fame of the place. The town is located in the middle of a naturalistic landscape near the Della Garzaia National Park and is characterized by its rectangular shape, which belonged to the original design of Julius Caesar Gonzaga.
Where once stood the castle, destroyed by the French in the 1700s, today there is Piazza XXIII Aprile surrounded by ancient buildings with colonnades where courtiers and their families used to live. Among the attractions of the town are the Teatro Comunale, the Palazzo Pretorio and the Church of Santa Felicita, which dates back to 1339. Pomponesco also has a small Jewish cemetery, as well as the Palazzo Cantoni, which belonged to a noble Israeli family.
In the province of Cremona there is the town of Soncino, which is immersed in a landscape of incredible beauty in the Parco del Olho e del Bosco di Barco. The locality keeps its medieval appearance and is surrounded by fortress walls of the XV century, here rises a fortress built by the Sforza family. This fortress is a military building with four towers and ravelin with four drawbridges. Behind the walls, which stretch for 2 kilometers, and the four towers above the fortification, there are many underground structures that in the past were used for military purposes for protection. At the center of the village are the Comunale with the Torre Civica, the Azzanelli Tower and the Stampatori Palace, which was home to the Jews who printed the first complete Jewish bible of Gershom Nathan in 1488. Soncina is also on the list of the most beautiful towns in Italy.