Italy Porta Castiglione

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Sue Wolfe

About this spot
Porta Castiglione was one of 12 gates in Bologna’s outer medieval wall known as “The Circla.” This gate was built in the 13th century and rebuilt again in the 14th century. It was also known as the Porta dei Canali because, at one time, the Savena River flowed in the canal nearby. The river was used to supply hydraulic energy to the silk and wool mills.

As the city grew in population, another perimeter was needed to enclose the first two walls. The outer wall was 7.6 km long and each gate was part of a complex consisting of a captain’s house, keep, moat and drawbridge which controlled the coming and going of people to the city as well as imports.

Originally the Circla was built with wood but in the 1300s, they began to pour a mixture of pebbles and sand between the bricks for added strength. While much of the Circla was demolished for the construction of the ring road and housing, there are a few places where you can see well-preserved examples of the wall.

Porta Sant’Isaia and Porta San Mamolo no longer remain, but the other ten can be seen on the outskirts of the old city. Between 2007 and 2009, Bologna completed a restoration project for the remaining gates.

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