"The Castle/Fortress at San Leo, Part III" Top 5 Page for this destination San Leo Things to Do Tip by von.otter
San Leo Things to Do: 33 reviews and 130 photos
“We reached the town of San Leo, where we came the other day to see the splendid old fortress, used for a time as a prison, but now kept only as a government monument. The room where the impostor, Cagliostro, was let down through a hole as the only entrance, and where he died in 1795, gave me the “creeps.” ”
— from “Italian Castles and Country Seats” 1911 by Tryphosa Bates Batcheller (1876–1952)
The location of the castle/fortress of San Leo, set atop a sheer cliff, offers very dramatic views of itself and the surrounding countryside.
The first settlement of San Leo is thought to be as early as the eighth century BC. Over the following centuries came the Etrurians, followed by the Gauls and finally the Romans. The name San Leo first appeared in the tenth century. Leone Dalmata, a companion of St. Marino and who would be canonized himself, lived here toward the end of the third century.
After the Western Roman Empire fell in AD 476, the invading Goths, Greeks, Longobards and Francs fought for control of the fortress at San Leo because of its military importance. Later San Leo passed to papal rule; and it became the center of a wide diocese whose territory is called Montefeltro.
In AD 962 Berengario II retired to the castle/fortress of San Leo following his defeat at Pavia; he maked it the capital of Italy. In AD 963 Montefeltro surrenders to the German emperor Ottone I. It was at the fortress of San Leo, at the end of the first millennium, that German princes organized the Holy Roman Empire. In 1155 Holy Roman Emperor Frederich I Barbarossa gave the town to Montefeltrano I Carpegna, thus ennobling the house of Montefeltro.
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