Love and death in the Castle of Gradara

A Medieval fortress towers over Gradara, on the border between Marche and Romagna: a castle where love and death entangled for centuries.

The castle’s 30-meter-tall keep and crenellated walls were the scene of much intrigue, many fatal romances, as well as political events: it is where the most prominent aristocratic families of the region decided to fight the Papacy during the Middle Ages. Legend has it that this was also where lovers Paolo and Francesca – portrayed in one of the most famous episodes of Dante’s Inferno, in the fifth canto – lived the passionate affair that would soon lead to their tragic death by murder, when discovered by Francesca’s jealous husband: “Love brought us to one death”, she tells Dante in the Divine Comedy.

Love and death once again visited the castle with Lucrezia Borgia, the woman who bent to the wishes of her scheming father – Pope Alexander VI – and powerful brother, Cesare, only to see her unhappy marriages end in poisonous combinations of fear.

Built around 1150 on a hill 142 meters above sea level, the Castle and village of Gradara – enclosed by two rows of city walls – are one of the best-preserved examples of Medieval architecture in Italy. The atmosphere of its superb past also remains intact, allowing us today to sense the essence of a tumultuous past in which the only real power was raw passion.

Photos via:

Love and death in the Castle of Gradara

Gradara (PU) 5 Novembre, 1
+39 0541 964115 / +39 340 1436396


Most Read

Rococo luxury at the Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi

The Palazzina di Caccia of Stupinigi, near Turin, was designed by Filippo Juvarra and built in 1729; between the 18th and 19th...

Pietro Piffetti: the king of fine cabinetry

by Barbara Palladino His creations sum up every magnificence of 18th-century Baroque style: Pietro Piffetti was one of the most famous and...

Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli Affari di Stato: a triumph of decorative art

by Barbara Palladino Inside Turin’s Royal Palace is one of the gems of 18th-century Baroque art: the Gabinetto del Segreto Maneggio degli...

Antonio Stradivari: the legend and myth of perfect sound

by Barbara Palladino The Stradivarius violin is renowned as the perfect musical instrument. Playing one is a dream come true for any...