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ROCCA VISCONTEO VENETA E MUSEO ORNITOLOGICO

Sites of interest at Lonato del Garda


INFO
Opening hours: September-June: Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 12.00pm and from 2.30pm to 6.30pm (Monday to Friday visits by appointment); July-August: every day. For groups and school groups by appointment every day

Locally known as the Roccait stands on the summit of the Morenic Amphitheatre dominating the southern side of Lake Garda. The western slope of the hill shelters the historical centre of Lonato, the limits of which border the Po valley. The fortification may be considered one of the most important in Lombardy. Its irregular and vaguely triangular form reveals a central structure almost 180 metres in length and approximately 45 metres in width. It is composed of two structures at different levels: the so called Rocca in the upper part, and the lower part called headquarters. Despite the long domination by the Visconti and Scaligeri families, the walled embankment, built with large morenic rocks, has Guelph merlons. On the western side, the Castle may be entered through a gate and drawbridge, which were restored in 1980 thanks to the intervention of the Superintendence of Architectural Works. On the right, a postern allows the passage of a single person, while a niche overhead houses the lion of Saint Mark, symbol of Venetian dominion. Before the entrance, on the right, stand the immense brickwork ramparts, on whose top there are still traces of the niches for the cannons placed in defence of the fortification. Beyond the entrance, on the right again, we can visit the ruins of the guard rooms, through which it is possible to reach the entry to the rampart pill-box. After going up the slope, on the left side it is possible to enter the Headquarters which still show the remains of the chimneys of the barracks (also called quarters) as well as a room provided with a great oven for cooking. Through a pointed archway access may be gained to the northern quarters where, on the far side, it is possible to visit the remains of a look-out and artillery post, brought to light during restoration and consolidation work carried out by volunteers in 1984-1985 on the initiative of Pro Loco. Going along the watchmen's path, from which it is possible to enjoy a spectacular panorama of Lake Garda, we reach the entrance to the Rocchetta, by the side of which stands the solid structure of the keep, with its dungeons. Beyond the entrance, on the western side it is possible to observe the restored look-out Weapons quarters, through which it is now possible to reach the top of the keep, the highest point in the whole castle. The southern side, from which we can get a clear view of the historical centre and great part of the plains, still preserves the remains of some rooms, reduced to floor and side-walls. Parallel to the east side of the Rocchetta rises the lord's dwelling, home, in ancient times, of the captain of the castle. It is a rectangular structure with rooms on two floors; under which a wide basement served as cellar and stores, or stables. Inside the building, the only noteworthy element is the Renaissance fireplace. Recently, at the rear, excavations have brought to light cisterns used to collect and store rainwater, which were also fed by the well which is still visible near to the house. In the north-eastern corner, the emergency door opens with a long and narrow staircase leading to the external base of the castle, here, in 1938, several human skeletons were discovered in a niche. During the same years, the ravelin protecting this door was demolished. The northern side of the Rocchetta is characterised by the remains of some rooms, the function of which is difficult to interpret. Declared a national monument in 1912, today it is a place for conventions and conferences as well as home to an ornithological civil museum.

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