Last Sunday was one of those lazy days when the weather doesn’t allow a beach trip but when sightseeing can come up as a perfect option instead. So today I’m happy to share with you another story of my wanderings around beautiful Italian villages. Enjoy!
Castrocaro is a small village and a thermal resort about 60km south east of Bologna. The best (and by far the only one I’ve found) way to reach it is definitely by car. Since it is a thermal resort many people (elderly especially) come to Castrocaro throughout the year, but summer is probably the best time if your plan consists primarily of sightseeing.
Getting there by car should not be a problem as there are enough parking spaces which are free of charge on the weekends. Once you get there, be prepared for an unforgettable experience in this picturesque village.
It was a bit tricky for us to find the way to the castle, but thanks to the directions given by the locals we did find the right way quite quickly : ) So, a tip number one: go straight on the main street until you see a big clock, turn right and head straight up the hill until you see the fortress itself. Sounds a bit Peter Pan-ish but beware, it might require some physical exercises!
When we finally reached the castle, my breath was taking away *and not only by climbing* but also by a spectacular view : ). Honestly, it was just….wow. The fortress itself and the view of the valley around is worth climbing up any hills.
The fortress of Castrocaro dates back to XIth century when it played an important strategic role. During its best years the castle hosted such notable people as Frederick Barbarossa and Niccolò Machiavelli. Nowadays it is obviously (and so unfortunately) semi-ruined but, compared to many other sights, is still in a good condition. Something to keep in mind: check the castle’s website before the visit – the sight hosts festivals and exhibitions quite often. We were lucky enough to see the Japanese culture festival which was really interesting itself and was a curious addition to the medieval ambient.
As any self-respecting fortress, the one in Castrocaro has its own love and death legend… and of course, a personal ghost! And who doesn’t like another ghost story? I’m not going to spoil you all the fun, like that you’ll be able to find the details inside the fortress : ) What I’m going to highlight instead, is that the castle is so old there are many, many hidden gems, like secret prison and mysterious passages. Oh, and have I already mentioned the view? I know I have, but again, the view is incredible. Climb up the castle’s highest tower and check the view from the very top.
I personally liked the surroundings and the fortress’s yard more than the interior. Inside the castle is not very big and quite modest, but still it’s pretty nice to check out. A few rooms represent medieval interior and the rest of the castle is basically weapons/medieval equipment exhibition (dear me, those axes!!!).
After the visit, I’d recommend you taking a brief walk around the village. The old part is just as old as the fortress, and you’ll definitely feel like strolling down a medieval village. Oh, and it’s impossible to resist taking photos of literary everything so don’t forget your phone or camera! :D
Don’t hesitate to comment and tell me what you think of Italian medieval towns and villages. I’m keen on continuing this topic and sharing with you even more romantic and historical places around Italy so it would be nice to hear about your favourite getaways ;) For more photos don’t forget to follow my Instagram and my Twitter to stay up-to-date!