Visiting the Castle

One can reach the castle on foot from Piazza dell’Antenna, in the middle of the medieval part of town, or by car, using the road that leads to it from the northern side of town.
The main entrance, with a drawbridge, is protected in typical medieval fashion, by a solid tower, on which a bas-relief of Saint George may be seen.  After crossing the drawbridge, you enter into a first courtyard, built by the Venetian Republic in the 15th century.  Within the courtyard, traces of a small, ancient church are visible.  It had three apses and has been dated to the 10th century, during the period of the invasions by the Huns.  It was constructed for the local population, who used it as a refuge.  Continuing up, you will enter a second courtyard, which would have been the first as the building was originally laid out.  It is the largest courtyard of the castle and is nicknamed “Courtyard of the Madonna”.  The entryway has a tower over it, on the wall of which is a fresco of the Virgin.  The painting carries the date June 1st, 1321.  The last courtyard, which is both the highest and smallest one, was at that time a serious obstacle for enemies.  Here the central tower rises, constituting the last and strongest defensive fortification.  It was probably also used for imprisonment and torture, as human bones were found here during restoration work. To the left of the entryway to the courtyard, there is a fresco from 1340 of a shield with the Della Scala four-runged ladder, held up by two rampant dogs.  In the background is a warrior followed by a group of soldiers with the Della Scala standard.  In the middle of this courtyard was a well dug at the same time as the castle.  To the side of the main tower, is the building that housed the guards on the ground floor, which now displays the offensive and defensive weapons of the Della Scala soldiers.
In the internal courtyard, as in the middle one, it has been possible to prove the existence of buildings to house soldiers.
An external staircase gives access to the residence of the Lord or of his representative.  It is a well preserved medieval residence. The stairway opens into the central room, named “La Caminata” after its large fireplace (camino).  A small door opens onto a small hanging courtyard, built a few years after the Republic of Venice took the castle over from the Carraresi in the 15th century.
Another doorway in the Caminata room leads to the bedroom, which boasts an important fresco from 1200 depicting Christ on the cross, the Madonna and Mary Magdalene.  The other room is the dining room, which is well furnished and lavishly decorated.  Around the walls are benches and chairs, and the glass case on the credenza displays pieces of dishes found in the local necropolis.  Continuing, you enter into a small room with five portraits on the walls: Mastiff I, the founder of the Della Scala rise to power; Cangrande, the most illustrious of the family’s rulers; Dante Alighieri, the great poet who was a guest of the Della Scalas in Soave; Taddea da Carrara, the wife of Mastiff II, Cangrande’s successor; and Cansignorio della Scala, who renovated and enlarged the castle.  He built the walls around the town and had the Palazzo di Giustizia constructed (Iuris Amica Domus) as well as the Palazzo Scaligero (also called Palazzo del Capitano).