Castiglione del Lago

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Castiglione del Lago set on a calcareous headland that was once the fourth island of Trasimeno. Various archaeological findings prove that the centre was populated during the Etruscan and Roman period. In the 7th century AD, Castiglione del Lago probably an important military outpost of Lombard Tuscia against the territories of Byzantine Perugia which controlled the eastern shores of Lake Trasimeno. In the 11th century, the area came under the rule of the Abbey of Campoleone (modern- day Capolona, near Arezzo) and the Panzi family of Cortona.
It was then fought over by Arezzo, Cortona and Perugia, which finally took control at the end of the 12th century. In 1228, Frederick II of Sweden wrested Castiglione del Lago from the domination of Guelph Perugia, and afterwards fortified it and laid out the town according to the plan which has remained more or less unchanged up to the present day. Once more under the domination of Perugia, Castiglione del Lago was affected by the political events in its ruling city, especially the feud of the Baglioni family. In 1550, Pope Julius III del Monte conceded the Castiglione del Lago lands to his sister Giacoma, mother of Ascanio della Corgna who, at the end of 1563, was honoured with the title of Marquis of Castiglione del Lago and Chiugi.
In 1617, Castiglione was elevated to the rank of a duchy until 1648, when it came completely under the control of the Apostolic Chamber and thus under the direct rule of Rome. With its imposing polygonal curtain wall, punctuated by four towers, the Rocca del Leone is one of the most interesting examples of medieval military architecture in the region.
Built in 1247 to the plans of Friar Elia Coppi da Cortona, in the 16th century it was considered an impregnable military structure. Today it is possible to explore its ancient walkways and enjoy the wonderful Trasimeno scenery. The Palazzo della Corgna, which today serves as the Town Hall, was built on the orders of Ascanio della Corgna at the beginning of 1560, to the plans of Galeazzo Alessi. The closeness of the Palazzo to the Rocca, connected by an attractive covered walkway, confer upon the complex a typical medieval character. The rooms are adorned with frescoes by Il Pomarancio. To see: the Church of St. Dominico di Guzman that contains a fine 18th century ceiling and the tombs of members of the della Corgna family. The Church of St. Maria Maddalena (1836) that conteins frescoes and paintings of the Siennese School. Part of the territory of Castiglione is Isola Polvese, dominated by the Olivetan Abbey of San Secondo (15th century).

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