Entry price: € 2.00
Holidays: 2 hours free visit at € 15-19; 4 hours guided tour € 15/16.30/18. Afternoons of Public Holidays: Easter until the end July and the end of September (concomitantly with European Heritage Days) in mid-January.
Aperto: tutto l'anno nei giorni feriali in orario di apertura della Biblioteca comunale Domenica e giorni festivi: 9:30-12:30 / 15:00-18,30
Telephone: +39 0522 861861
INFOLINE: +39 0522 861872
The original fortified centre, which was very probably built in the Matilda,era, was from at first subject to the ecclesiastical powers of Parma then passed into the hands of a local family called da Montecchio, also known as Visdomini or Vicedomini because they were given the task of running the bishop's estate. It was they who exploited the strategic importance of the place by building, in the first half of the 1200s, a well equipped fortress. In 1206 the Marquis Azzo d'Este besieged the fort without achieving its capitulation, while Giberto Da Correggio, in one of his many incursions into the territory of Parma, attacked and dismantled
the fort in Montecchio in 1317. Submission to the Da Montecchio family was
interrupted in 1348 by Luchino Visconti who gave the feudal rights to the army leader Alberico da Visconti who is recorded as having commissioned the "Rotonda" and who was in turn substituted in1403 by Ottobono and Giacomo Terzi, rewarded for their merits at the service of the Dukes of Milan. The succession of sovereignties over Montecchio continued for the whole of the 15th century. In 1411 it was occupied by the Marquis Nicolo III d'Este, who gave it to Attenedolo "Sforza" in recompense for services rendered but already, in 1420, Filippo Maria Visconti managed to capture it. Only six years later Uguccione
Contrari, with the complicity of the inhabitants, occupied the manor and proclaimed himself lord of Montecchio. During his family's domination, in the first half of the century, important work was carried out on the castle to enhance the defensive structures and for the renovation of the moats. This work was coordinated by the military engineers Accorsio and Guglielmo da Fano. In 1482 the castle was once again subject to attack, organised this time by Guido Torello of Torrechiara. After the conquest of the castle he began work on the construction and fortification of ramparts, curtain walls and the moats. Between the end of the 1400s and the first half of the following century the Estensi, the new lords of Montecchio began an impressive building campaign reconstructing the defence features and eventually creating a perimeter of 1,300 metres. The new walled area, intended for urbanisation gives the old town centre its characteristic plan. In 1526 it was considered necessary to reinforce the walls with th
e building of crenellations and to repair the towers. In 1638 Duke Francesco I d'Este gave the castle to prince Luigi of the same family. When Cesare Ignazio d'Este who had been invested with the castle by Duke Francesco II died, the castle passed to the Ducal Chambers. It returned to the ducal chambers again after a brief domination by the Marquis Clemente
Bagnesi who was invested in 1771. In the course of the 18th century more work was carried out on the castle: a theatre was created in 1752, inside the gallery which connects the castle to the "Rotonda" A century later instead work was carried out on the row of porticoes giving onto the piazza. The tower, which in the 18th century reports written by the ducal engineer Lodovico Bolognini, appeared to be in poor state of repair, is at the present day visible for three quarters of its external circumference. The castle closes the west side of the urban area and is seated at the centre of a vast fortified walled area with sloping fortifications and circular ramparts at the corners. The most ancient part still visible is the keep or clock tower built to a 13th-century plan in the north-east corner while the irregular quadrilateral structure with interior courtyard can be attributed to a later date. The
clock tower stands out from the body of the castle at the same height as another minor tower on its north-west side. Both towers are equipped with window slits and ghibelline crenellations covered by a roof, It is still possible to observe parts of the city walls with the foundations of the three towers on the outer limits and remains of the moat. The city walls, of which there are still parts visible, was composed of a sloping wall with quadrangular towers at the corners There were two means of access; the "Porta Vecchia" (old door) to the south which was demolished in 1874, and the "Porta Nuova" (new door) situated at the beginning of Via Veneto towards the south ,which was demolished in 1902. The covering of the inner courtyard for arms was carried out in 1947.
Source: local Staff Reggio Emilia