#134 Castello di Rocca Scaligera
Sirmione sul Garda, Italy
1290 - 1310
This is NOT an official Lego site

The impressive castle of Sirmione, Italy is indirectly due to the century and a half of chronic unrest between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs. The conflict was born at the Battle of Weinsberg in 1140, when the Welf [Guelph] Dukes of Bavaria, who favored the Papacy, fought the Hohenstaufens of Swabia [now Baden-Wurttemberg, also in Germany] who favored the Holy Roman Emperor. In Italy the European conflict revolved around fear of impending encroachment by the Papal States (by the Ghibellines) and fear of infringement by the Holy Roman Empire (by the Guelphs). The della Scala family of Verona had been the chief Ghibelline family of Northern Italy since the mid-13th century when Ezzelino III da Romano died. As part of the family moved to Sirmione, just 20 miles west of Verona, in the late 1200's, the wealthy mercantile Guelphs were waxing over the more agricultural Ghibellines and the first order of business of this incredibly wealthy family was to protect itself.
The della Scalas [Scaligeri] chose a narrow spot in the middle of the lengthy peninsula jutting into the south end of Lake Garda, Italy's largest inland lake [about 37 miles long], and built a castle that was so impressive that no rival ever dared lay seige against it! The Rocca was completely surrounded by either Lake Garda or moat fed by the lake and is unique in incorporating the largest fortified castle harbor in the world, used by the della Scalas to control and toll traffic on the huge lake.
The castle was important in protection of city of Verona and the the della Scala family in particular throughout the 14th century, though it was never the seat of court. The Scaligeri abandoned the castle in 1405, and it became the possession of the Republic of Venice until 1797, when the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded northern Italy, and Sirmione eventually became part of the Habsburg Empire. The castle was garrisoned until the 16th century, when the advent of cannon and the construction of the cannon fort at Peschiera at the south end of Lake Garda rendered the Rocca obsolete. The town and its castle became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the castle became the property of the Italian government at the beginning of the 20th century, when many renovations were begun. A visit to the castle is well worth the effort - the view from the donjon is outstanding!
The bridge approaching the
main gatehouse
The entrance passage-
way - seen from the
inner courtyard
The donjon And very high
curtain wall.
The harbour from the castle - ready to receive
all friendly merchant vessels!
Floor Plan Another Floor Plan Prerestoration Postcard

 

Photos of the Lego Model
under construction February 2012
The castle was laid out on Feb.
1, squared up a bit in accordance
with the 3 year old design.
The main castle will be 8 bricks
above the waterline of Lake
Garda.
Second day work concen-
trated on the external (west)
gatehouse.
On day three much work concerned
the design of the harbour battle-
ments [which are erroneous].
The next three days were
involved with the building up of
both the outer and inner castle.
The emphasis was to build as
much as possible in areas where
I was most comfortable.
There are areas that need
clarification - which will be
coming soon...
The harbour is currently the
repository for many plans and
photographs.
By February 10 slopes have arrived
to complete the harbour bulwark,
with some work on the north curtain.
A lot of the progress on the
iouter and inner gatehouses
needed to be redone...
Photographs litter the project
as accuracy is acheived.
The southeast yard is notably larger
in my model as compared to the actual
castle, due to squaring up of the model.
The initial design of the southwest
bailey proved wrong, when pictures
came from Dan [see below].
The outer gatehouse got a
staircase to the drawbridge
mechanism loft.
And the southwest got a
new sets of stairs as well!
Construction has also begun on
the wooden steps inside the SW
tower.
There's also been progress on the west
gatehouse the new photos showing
its connection with the inner courtyard.
Both of the harbour towers
are done on Feb. 13, except
the arrow slits in some merlons.
There's also progress on the
north face of the inner ward.
On March 10, I took a set of construction photos
which I expect will be to last ones until I post pictures
of the completed model in a few weeks.
Here's the only entrance into
the town of Sirmione. The old
drawbridge is now fixed.
The second guarded
entrance is currently
protected by Athos,
Porthos and Aramis!
The view of the main castle from the town
side features two towers with the
residential range in between.
The wonderful harbor is filled
with 'water' - i.e. the blue 32
x 32 baseplates have arrived.
The castle from the southeast. The twin outer and
main gatehouses -
well underway.
The southwest courtyard
will perhaps eventually be
filled with food service for
the entire castle staff.
The last time anyone will
be able to see the
corbelling supports for
residential range roof.
The long staircase up to
the second floor and the
battlements.
The southeast outer
courtyard will be filled
with merchants goods.
The harbor is well protected
by three tiers of battlements.
The harbor is ingenious, though
it's now somewhat silted in after
750 years.

 

Photos of the Lego Model
Built February 1 to May 15, 2012 for BrickWorld 2012

Here is the view of the castle
and harbor from the south.
The harbor is guarded by
levels of battlements!
From the SSW you get a better feel for
the power of the castle.
The view from the south-
west highlights to gatehouse
with drawbridge that is the
only land entrance to the city.
The west view features the
town's entrance to its

protector.
The northwest view high-
lights the residential range...
...which is three stories high. From the northeast one can
further appreciate the walls
and towers protecting the
harbor.
The harbor itself has
docking space for boats
on three sides.
The main gatehouse
had both pedestrian
and carriage entrances.
There is a daily bazaar in
the southeast outer court.
Meanwhile in the southwest
courtyard preparations are
underway for the midday
meal, with four wines.
On the entrance promenade into the
town of Garda (now Sirmione) just
about anything will be happening!
The donjon is both
refuge and watchtower.
There is a tower at either
end of the residential
range.
The third tower
is the alternate
stair to the battle-
ments.
The top of the donjon also
shows a bit of the busy
harbor.

 

Build Your Own

Usually I'm happy to put all available plans on the webpage, but not in the case of Rocca Scaligera.
While I'm basically following my several year old Lego Plan, I'm building the castle with several
360 panaramas, and almost 150 pictures sent to me by my friend Dan Vallauri from his visit to
the castle - resulting to numerous changes/corrections. It makes the plans and elevations in many
ways less useful than normal, so here's just one view:
Lego South Elevation


Other Rocca Scaligera pages (none of which I like much, and which aided in many design errors):
http://www.lagodigardamagazine.com/the-sirmione-castle-lake-garda.aspx
http://www.lifeinitaly.com/tourism/lombardy/scaliger-castle-sirmione

BUT there is a great website with several 360 super panoramas which show off the castle beautifully:
http://www.360cities.net/image/sirmione-rocca-scaligera-1-lombardia#7.75,-4.52,70.0
http://www.360cities.net/image/sirmione-inner-courtyard-castle-scaliger-lombardia-lake-garda-italy#298.21,-26.03,70.0

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Castles created by Robert Carney
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Robert Carney