Castello degli Ezzelini
At the entrance the slender, yet imposing Torre Bolzonella tower (now named after Ser Ivano – one of Ezzelino III’s men) marks the start of the castle structure protected two walled belts. It is more than 30 metres tall and was an unassailable defence “machine”, autonomous and isolated from the actual castle.
The castle, like all ancient military structures guarding strategic territorial positions moreover, has a very long history dating back to Pre-Roman times. The walled structures left to us by time date back to the early decades of the 12th century and were at their most splendid in the time of the powerful Ezzelini dynasty, a Germanic family closely linked and related to the Emperor, who made this their permanent home after the struggles that saw them withdraw from the castle of Onara (Padua) and then that of Castel di Godego (Treviso) to establish themselves in the nearby Romano Castle.
The castle remained perfectly functional even with subsequent dominations by the Visconti and the Scaligeri, finally passing under the Republic of Venice in 1404. It was a perfect war machine for protecting the important walled city and a staging post on the obligatory road into the mountains, so much that it was able to easily resist even “new” weapons, the first cannons used in battle by the Hungarians and by Emperor Sigismund in the siege of 1411-12.
In 1508 it could do nothing against the new type of war when the city was overcome despite strenuous defence in Valsugana by the tough Canalotti, by the imposing troops sent out to battle by the League of Cambrai under Maximilian of Austria against Venice, which was on the verge of being destroyed. Only the “brand new” fortified cities of Padua and Treviso saved the Republic of Venice. With the Venetian “pax” the city lost its role as a strategic hub along the corridor of invasion from the Alps and gradually transformed into a thriving city of trade and artisans. The castle’s destiny was marked out from the early 1500s and its military buildings fell slowly into obscurity and were partially reused for other purposes.
In the modern age, excluding the “private” sections, a series of structures were gifted to the public, in a grave state of abandon and overrun with wild plants until the enormous collapse of 1928. A long and careful restoration project lasting a few years or so now allow us to take in the complex structure including a guided tour on the spectacular panoramic ramparts walk.