Day 9 – Castiglione del Lago e Corciano
- Barb: Crenelations
- Mike: Passageways
- Jen: Castles
- Barb: Medieval airs
- Mike: Storybook villages
- Jen: Tiny spaces
Three or Four Words
- Barb: Scudding cloud shadows
- Mike: Long narrow tunnel
- Jen: Christmas tree village
- Barb: (See Mike’s first) Me, too!
- Mike: Limitations aside—its and mine—I like my GPS.
- Jen: You can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting a castle, tower, or fortified town.
We visited Castiglione del Lago (Lion Castle on the Lake by my reckoning) and the small hill town of Corciano today. The castle is on Lake Trasimeno, the fourth largest lake in Italy. This was an important strategic area, hotly disputed for a long time. Hannibal defeated the Romans here in 217 BC. Fortifications on the Castiglione del Lago site were destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, and I think what remains is from the 13th century.
What remains is a pentagonal castle with high rock walls that have tiny slots for shooting arrows (or something) at invaders, towers that provide extensive 360-degree views, and crenelations (square saw-tooth notches, like on a chess rook), so we know it’s a castle. I don’t know castle terminology or anything about strategic engineering or uses of a castle, but it was very cool, nonetheless, enormous and in relatively good repair.
I especially liked the tower at the top point of the pentagon: It’s triangular. Standing in front of it and looking up, with clouds scudding past, it looked as though the tower was about to fall on us, or perhaps like the prow of a giant ship about to run over us.
The best part was that they let you inside. We started at what I’ll call the palace. We wandered through a series of fresco-covered rooms. From here, a tiny covered passageway led to what I’m calling the castle where we climbed the steps and walked around the battlements at the top. The views were grand; the castle itself was beautiful and wildly interesting; and imagining how it was used was fascinating and fun. I can’t fathom anyone getting through, over, around, or under those walls without bombs and/or airplanes.
We walked through hill town that Castiglione del Lago protects, visiting the churches to see the always-impressive art and architecture.
Then we headed to Corciano, another tidy and quaint hill town nearby. (See my wrap-up sentence for the day. I’m not kidding.) The painter Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, was born and worked in the Lake Trasimeno area, and a church in Corciano has one of his paintings.