Cangrande’s refuge

Castelvecchio, the Old Castle, was built by the Scala family during the 14th century when they were the rulers of Verona. It became their residence and fortress during the rule of Cangrande II in 1354.

Cangrande, appropriately enough, translates as “top dog”.

Like most buildings that are now called the ‘Old’ something, the Old Castle wasn’t called ‘Old’ when it was new. It got the name ‘Old’ when the newer fortifications were built on the hill of San Pietro.

Bridge at Castelvecchio

Attached to the Old Castle is this fortified bridge called Ponte Scaligero over the River Adige, which the Scala family eventually had to use to make their escape from the city when they had fallen out of power.

Museum in Castelvecchio

In the Old Castle there is now an interesting museum with artworks from several centuries.

A painting of Salome in the Castelvecchio museum

Salome was the daughter of Herodias and the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. Her story is told in the Bible (Mark 6:21-28), and you can also read about it in my post “Don’t let your stepdaughter read this“.

My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2023.

See also: Salome in the opera tent in Liège, Belgium.

5 thoughts on “Cangrande’s refuge”

  1. So this is in a way the opposite in terms of naming to Newcastle, where the castle was called ‘new’ when it was first built (logically) and the epithet stuck, although today only in the city name, not the castle 😉

  2. I was privileged enough to get to stay here in 2010 for a G8 ministerial summit. The room was a bit cell-like with bare walls and a very high small window – in fact it may actually have been a converted dungeon! – but the food was fantastic. All local produce, so lots of Parmesan, Parma ham and prosecco. Even though I’m vegetarian and the meals were heavy on the local asparagus, it was great. Lovely building.

  3. Old and New, it is a matter of perspective. As always, a nice mix of humor and history, keeping even a non-history buff like me in the game.

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