Lords, Castles, Middle Ages, medieval fortress

by | Nov 9, 2015

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Lords and Castles in the Middle Ages

The Hungarian invasions

Lords and castles, their birth. In the region of the Veneto, the Hungarian invasions of the tenth century caused the reconstruction of the town walls. As a result, we find a great number of castles on the territory. These fortified centers originate in the defense of the rural populations. Hence they become a control system and the signories exploitation. Furthermore, the cities were the seat of the bishop and a weak public authority. As a result, new centers of religious or military power joined the country.

The power of the sacred and the profane

Great abbeys became the centers of the agriculture recaptures. And many castles turned into centers of autonomous jurisdictions. Fortifications hastily built in the 10th century to defend themselves by the Hungarian invasions. Even an ancient Roman center as Este was militarized. For this town, it is the basis of the feudal and noble fortunes of the family that will create a small but vital state to the south. Located in the town of Ferrara, the Este family will control the Polesine area until 1395.

The transformation 

As a result, this is a period of a great flowering of the social and culture life. Most of all in 1222 we have the foundation of the University of Padua. Almost at the same time, we have throughout the mainland a transformation. Hence of free communes into powerful Lordships that were fighting each other for the land hegemony.

The domination of the Seigneuries

In fact, from 1230 to 1260, we find the domination of the most representatives of the Seigneuries. And also the Lords that have moved into the cities, they maintained possession of the countship from which their name derived. Hence the names like da Romano, da Camino, da Carrara and Este will be part of the Middle Ages of this region.

The lords like guarantors of the wellness

These were families with a longstanding military tradition and an aristocratic culture. For sure, this was at the base of a considerable charm in the eyes of the bourgeoisie. And also the heads of these important families were as guarantors of the order, the safety and the power of the town. As a result, these lords had the posts of Podestà (governor). As well as Capitanio del Popolo (Captain of the People), on which the new power structure was based.

The Scaligers of Verona

The first to emerge was the lordship of Romano d’Ezzelino. Who conquered part of the center and the north of the Veneto. Hence Treviso fell into the hands of the Lords Da Camino. And in Verona, between 1260 and 1277, we find the lords Della Scala (also known as the Scaligers). As a result, they established themselves as allies of the middle class of merchants and craftsmen. Hence against the more important citizens. in conclusion, Verona became the capital of a powerful state. Which at its peak crossed the Apennines, reaching up to Lucca.

The power of the Seigneuries was slow to come to Padua. That was a town with a large commercial center. And also with a prestigious university. In 1318, because of the threat of the Scaligers, Jacopo da Carrara was elected as Capitano Generale.

A new town in the north of the Adriatic sea

In this important time in our history, we have the birth of an area that will change the physiognomy of this region. Hence, an area located in the lagoon on the north of the Adriatic sea. As we know, during the barbarians invasions between the 7th and the 10th centuries, the inhabitants of the mainlands moved on some islands of the lagoon facing the town of Altino. Worth a note, this was a strategic site during the Roman Empire.


As a result, it is just around this period that a new town will settle. First, its name was Rialto. But from the 12th century, this town built on the water got the name of the Roman Augustan region: Venetia (Venice).

The Middle Ages in the Veneto region today

Today, we can retrace the Middle Ages of the Veneto region. In fact, we have different castles and medieval walled towns that show their power till our days. In this article, I will report just a few of them, some tips to implement on spot. An exciting way to discover this magic world.

Marostica and the chess game with alive people

The town of Marostica is one of the most important sites of the Middle Ages in the Veneto. It takes the appearance of a fortified town thanks to the Scaligers, Lords of Verona. Hence in Marostica, we find two castles. The upper castle on the top of the hill that nowadays it is just a ruin. And the lower castle that is in perfect condition. As we can see, a fortified wall links the two castles of Marostica. And most relevant, just in front of the lower Castle, there is the Chess square. Here, since 1954, they perform a chess challenge with alive people. An event where the participants play with the costumes of the Renaissance. As a result, it is an important event for the town of Marostica. It is held once every two even years, in the first week of September.

Monselice in the South of the Euganean hills

Monselice is a fortified site from the Lombards, founded in the south Euganean hills area. And it becomes a commune in the Middle Ages. As a result, under the rules of Ezzelino which improves also the defensive walls system. Hence from 1327 Monselice becomes a domain of the Carraresi lords of Padua. And after it passes to the Republic of Venice in 1405.


Cittadella and the Carraresi Lords of Padua

Cittadella, a well preserved town of the Middle Ages. In fact, the Carraresi lords of Padua built it in the years 1220-21. In the detail, the Carraresi create their military and administrative strategic center in the town of Cittadella. Hence the position of this walled town is at the intersection of two main roads. The first road is the one that connects Padua to Bassano from south to north. And the second road is the directrix from Treviso to Vicenza that goes from east to west. Most of all, this road was part of the larger system of the Roman Via Postojna. Therefore, this location was the strength of Cittadella.

Castelfranco Veneto, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance

The town of Castelfranco Veneto welcomes you with its clock tower. And also with its two entrance gates surrounded by crenelated walls. For sure the town preserves the colors and the fragrances of an ancient history. Hence the center of the castle is a little jewel, with its diverse styles of architecture. From those with a stamp from the middle Ages to edifices with a matrix of the eighteenth-century. Like also the Cathedral and the Theatre.

The Medieval walled town of Montagnana

Montagnana has a well preserved walls of the Middle Ages which surround the historic center for almost 2 km. Therefore, in the 10th century, they built a first small fort in order to protect the town. And then it became the feudal center of the Marchesi D’Este. Hence in the 12th century, we find various battles fought in this area. Between the troops of Ezzelino III da Romano and the Guelph faction led by the Este Family. Hence, at the end, Ezzelino with his troops conquers the town and rebuilds the fort where he adds the Mastio. That is the most ancient and higher tower of Montagnana. In the 14th century, Montagnana passed under the control of the Carraresi lords of Padua. And also the Carraresi add to the town new surrounding walls.

The Castelvecchio in the town of Verona

In the Middle Ages Verona becomes one of the most important cities thanks to the Lordship of the Scaliger. And the Castelvecchio (Old Castle), where now we find the museum of the city, was the residence of the Lords.


Asolo is the city known as with a hundred horizons. Hence, this medieval walled town presides over a grouped range of about thirty gentle hills. And they are along the PreAlp foothills. As a result, we can see some palaces with frescoes along the narrow streets of this medieval little town. And also a castle stands in the main square of Asolo.

Above, just a few of hundreds of Medieval castles and sites that are in the Veneto region.

Medieval castles and fortresses in the Veneto region

There are more than 100 castles and fortresses of the Middle Ages in this region. Just below you will find a map with some of them. 

Day excursion along the routes of the Middle Ages 

Medieval lower castle in Marostica, chess square

Cittadella and Marostica

Castelfranco Veneto walled medieval town of Giorgione

Giorgione and Palladio route

Clock tower Castelfranco Veneto medieval walled town

Cittadella, Castelfranco, Villa Emo

Montagnana medieval walled town middle ages

Montagnana and Monselice

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