Castello di Udine
“Castrum Utini” was first mentioned in 983, when it was donated by Emperor Otto II to Patriarch Rodoald. As early as the thirteenth century the castle was the ordinary residence of the patriarchs; in 1420, when Udine, after a long siege, surrendered to the Venetians, the castle became the residence of the Venetian governor in Friuli. The original castle, damaged by an earthquake in 1511 and subsequently recontructed, consisted in a towerhouse and a keep, which were enlarged in the 13th century with the construction of a more spacious palace, a church and a belltower, enclosed within a double curtain of walls.
The castle acquired its present form in 1517, when architect Giovanni Fontana was asked to design a new building that was more in keeping with its role as a stately residence. With the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797, Napoleon ceded Udine to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the castle was used as an office building, a fort (San Biagio) and a barrack. Now it is a museum (Galleria d’arte antica). In contains a splendid parliament chamber (see photograph) painted by Grassi, Amalteo, Tiepolo and others, with a magnificent, richly-decorated wooden ceiling.