The construction of the Castello degli Ezzelini is to be framed in the first defensive fortifications built around the Church of Santa Maria, as evidenced by a document dating back to the year 998; in the second half of the twelfth century the bishop of Vicenza, to whom the castle belonged, gave it to Ecelo I, the progenitor of what was once the powerful Ezzelini family. Later it passed into the hands of the Visconti, the Scaligeri and finally the Serenissima.
Castello degli Ezzelini History
Historically it is considered among the castles of Europe, among the impregnable. This is proof that, in 1411, it also resisted the attacks of the first bombards fielded by the Hungarian emperor Sigismondo. The city, however, fell in 1508, under the siege of Maximilian of Austria who, with the League of Cambrai, had come down to conquer Venice. The new fortifications of Treviso and Padua, however, managed to save the Serenissima and, once signed the "pax" between Venice and Austria, Bassano and his castle lost the role of a strategic position for the defense of the downpipe of enemy troops from the Alps. Thus, while the military works were progressively abandoned, the activities linked to crafts and commerce grew at the same time.
The castle's fate was marked from the early sixteenth century and military works slowly fell into oblivion and were partially re-used for other purposes.
In modern times, excluding the 'private' parts, we are given a series of structures in a serious state of neglect and even invaded by wild vegetation up to the conspicuous collapse of 1928. A long and accurate restoration work lasting up to a few years ago allows now to understand the complex structure even with a guided tour on the spectacular and scenic walkway.
The first opera by Giuseppe Verdi "Oberto conte di San Bonifacio" is set within the walls of the Castle, a tragic story of betrayal and revenge composed around the family of Ezzelino III.