Italy's central location made this country
an important bridge between Eastern and Western cultures.
Stone strongholds were built on this land for centuries, starting
with the Etruscans, Phoenicians, Greeks and the Romans.
This land is rich in architectural history,
and is famed for magnificent ruins of arches, amphitheaters,
tombs, temples, palaces and bridges. Many of these buildings
had humble beginnings, and grew as the centuries progressed.
Many medieval Italian castles have their
origins from feuding families, and quarrelsome aristocrats.
Sometimes, entire cities would be walled to provide protection
for its inhabitants. Wealthy families would construct residential
towers for their relatives. Some excellent examples of Italian
castles and fortifications constructed by Italy's merchant
princes have been preserved in cities like Florence, Bologna,
Castles in southern Italy were influenced
by invading Normans who ventured this direction to attack
the Byzantines and Moslems. Large Norman towers can be seen
in the towns of Apulia. Medieval Italian architecture is an
eclectic blend of Norman, Islamic, and Oriental styles, which
produced very unique fortifications, each adopting a blend
of elements from each culture.