Gorizia—The Back Door of Italy

Gorizia is a border town located at the foot of the Julian Alps, bordering Slovenia. Until 2004 it was physically divided by a wall, just like Berlin. It was not a wall though, rather a fence. Nevertheless Gorizia was practically divided; half italian and half [then] Yugoslavia, now Slovenia. The twin town across the border was called Nova Gorica.

Castle of Gorizia

I spent half day visiting the Castle of Gorizia. It is a fortification, built on the hill, which dominates the city, from which it takes its name.

The medieval castle is the heart and the symbol of the city: from here the view sweeps over the gentle expanses of hills and the whole of Gorizia, where harmonious medieval, baroque and nineteenth-century architecture coexist.

Although the day was cloudy and rather cold—especially within the thick walls of the castle—the view was beautiful, Italy and Slovenia side-by-side.

The construction of the castle of Gorizia dates back at around 1001, the year in which for the first time the title of Count of Gorizia appears.

Most likely, initially there were a series of defensive structures such as an embankment, a moat, a palisade had preceded the construction of a tower or stone keep, which was further expanded during the thirteenth century with the addition of a stately building and a building of two floors. In this same period there was certainly a village outside the palisade which in turn had a defensive barrier and made up of houses built in masonry, imposition given to the residents that was added to that of defending the castle in case of attack.

Life was grime and harsh in those days in a castle. Probably even worst than what we saw in “Game of Thrones;” the rooms were small and dark. The windows in this photos are from a later date than the initial time of the castle. Initially the windows were very narrow, big enough only to be able to shoot arrows or spears for defense.

In those days time was spent mostly in the kitchen–the only warm place—all the rest was terribly cold. Probably very uncomfortable too because of the smoke of the fires in the kitchen and for light.

The castle was damaged during the bombings of the First World War, but underwent restoration between 1934 and 1937, when it was decided to return as much as possible to the medieval aspect of the castle.

This castle is worth a visit though. Some rooms of the Castle are periodically home to exhibitions.

The ”Hall if Music” houses perfect reproductions of ancient instruments and you can listen to melodies thanks to modern technology.

From the ”Walk on the Bastions” you can explore the city of Gorizia and the territories of nearby Slovenia.

Moreover, the castle of Gorizia houses in the “Hall of Cavalieri”, the “Museum of the Middle Ages” in Gorizia, where you can find interesting reproductions of weapons used in the medieval times.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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