Rocca del Leone
In the village of Castiglione del Lago, after visiting Palazzo della Corgna, from the museum of the same name one enters a covered walkway leading to the majestic Rocca del Leone, from which one can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the whole of Lake Trasimeno and the surrounding area.
Origin and History
The mighty mediaeval fortress is characterised by a polygonal wall with Guelph battlements with four towers and a triangular keep that represented the most important military settlement on the shores of Lake Trasimeno for centuries.
The fortress was begun in the 12th century on the ruins of an earlier fortification destroyed in 1091 by Henry IV of Franconia. In 1297, the Perugian magistrates decided to fortify the town and, the following year, decided to build a fortress inside the castle to better defend the inhabitants.
Over the centuries, the medieval fortress underwent major interventions. These included those in the fourteenth century by Lorenzo Maitani (1325) - to whom we owe the façade of Orvieto Cathedral - and those in the sixteenth century, commissioned by Ascanio della Corgna, with a significant enlargement of the structure and the stately palace, now the town hall.
The Rocca was occupied by important figures in history, including the German king Henry VII of Luxembourg (1312), and, among lords and condottieri, Guglielmo di Beaufort (1375), Braccio Fortebraccio (1416), Giampaolo Baglioni (1503), Ascanio I Della Corgna (1550), Diomede I Della Penna (1596).
It was during the latter's residence that the stately palace came to be known as 'gli orti di mecenate', becoming the site of a lively literary salon. In 1647 it passed under the jurisdiction of the Apostolic Chamber and in 1860 to the municipality of Castiglione del Lago.