Castelvecchio or the Veneto treasure

Tourism is growing in Verona.

However, most of the people who visit Verona do not enter into Castelvecchio or the Veneto treasure but proceed to Juliet’s balcony and the Arena. Yet Castelvecchio is fascinating. Maybe more than the other two monuments. Even though that if for this ancient fortress you would need to know a bit of Verona’s history.
It was built around the middle of the fourteenth century by Cangrande II Della Scala, master of Verona. And was initially called the Castle of San Martino in Aquaro. The name Castelvecchio was in use after the Visconti family built a more recent castle. This one was located on the top of the hill of San Pietro.
Castelvecchio is a famous fortress, which an imposing appearance.
Moreover, its decidedly military shape, accentuated by the battlements that follow one another along the walls and the seven corner towers. It was an ancient residence, a fact witnessed by the remains of the original fresco decoration visible in some rooms.
On the left, coming from via Roma, there is the Reggia degli Scaligeri. Protected by a narrow courtyard with a double row of walls. In the center stands the high central tower (Torre del Mastio), from which the three-arched Scaligeri covered bridge rises over the river.

From 1958 to 1964 the fortress of Castelvecchio was the subject of a new restoration.

Additionally under Venetian rule it was an arsenal and a garrison. Then, during the Napoleonic occupation, they added the building along the river. Finally the Austrians used it for barrack for the occupation troops living there.
During the first decades of the twentieth century, Castelvecchio underwent its first major restoration and became a museum (inaugurated in 1923). It is the prestigious home of the civic art collections coming from Palazzo Pompei.

A new museum layout by the great Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa, who with his intervention brought to light the original structures wherever possible, freeing them from additions and highlighting the subsequent layers.

A work of recovery in which the conventional materials of the Veronese tradition, such as the stone slabs of Prun, alternate with modern steel and concrete, which support and join the old parts.

The result is a “masterpiece of Italian museography, with very valid and imitated solutions many years later” (Stefano Zuffi). Today the castle houses the headquarters of the City Museum of Verona. It is one of the largest collections of Italian art.

There is also the famous equestrian statue of Cangrande I Della Scala. His smiling face reminds of a Chinese figure of the Tang dynasty.

Therefore, a visit, even a quick one, to Castelvecchio, should be planned by all visitors.