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Villafranca is the major centre of the Garda Lake district. It is overlooked by the 14th century Veronese castle whose donjon was built on a monumental Roman inscription of the 1st century AD, at the time of the Emperor Tiberio. This town still preserves the signs of its growththroughout the centuries, from the Roman era to the Veronese domination, from the wealth of the Repubblica Serenissima to the flourishing Risorgimento.
Villafranca was founded by the Commune of Verona in the year 1185, to create a bulwark against the town of Mantua. Under the Scaliger's rule this village, then called Borgo Libero’(Free village), was fortified and became part of the difensive system called "il Serraglio", which included other castles in the surrounding area, such as the castle at Valeggio sul Mincio. The latter was built in the 10th century and renewed by the Scaligers, in the 14th century. In the year 1387 these territories were conquered by Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The construction of a new defensive structure was undertaken six years later: it was a long bridge-dam which was to reach up to the castle, but which was never completed.
La muraglia scaligera
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