Castelvecchio, meaning “Old Castle” in Italian, is an imposing castle and its appearance and shape shows that it was once a military building. It has seven towers, six smaller and one large, and is accentuated by battlements along the walls. It has a superelevated keep, the Torre del Mastio, with four main buildings inside and was once surrounded by a moat, which is now dry but into which the waters of the Adige once ran. Evidence of former residential use is evident in the remains of the original frescoes which can still be seen in some of the rooms. The castle was originally built in 1354-1357 by Cangrande II della Scala, who in a time of wars wanted somewhere safe to have his court. Cangrande belonged to the Scaliger dynasty that ruled Verona in the Middle Ages. The interior of the whole structure is divided by imposing 13th century walls, On the left is the Palace of the Scala family, in the centre stands the tower and on the right is a large courtyard at the centre of which is a fountain in the shape of a dog. There is a fortified bridge which once allowed those inside to escape, if the need arose, towards the north and the safety of the Tyrol. During the Venetian domination of Verona, there were slits added to make room for cannons and during the Napoleonic wars the castle was damaged. Under the Austrians, Castelvecchio was turned into barracks. In 1923 the castle was restored, as well as in 1958-1964. Recent restorations have unearthed some interesting finds including the Postierla del Morbio, part of the inner rampart and the remains of the old church of San Martino. Since the 1920s the fortress of Castelvecchio has been the “Castelvecchio Museum” . The rooms of the Castelvecchio Museum contains art collections, statues, collections of Lombard jewelry and early medieval bronze, gold and glass items, and is one of the most advanced and accredited museums in Europe
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