Lovere: the Castelliere

Located on the slopes of Monte Cala, the so-called “Castelliere” has recently been interpreted as a military structure, within the military campaign conducted by Pandolfo Malatesta in 1414 to consolidate his rule over these territories.

The Castelliere in Lovere is located on the slopes of Monte Cala in the district named Ronchi.

Historical sources and local beliefs attributed the massive drystone walls to a defensive place (castelliere) built by the Gauls at the end of the first millennium BC.

The morphology and the dominant position on Lovere, on the route to the fortress of San Giovanni, make the place favourable for control and therefore for strategic use.

Archaeological investigations carried out by the Superintendency for the archaeological heritage of Lombardy have not, however, collected any data referring to a protohistoric attendance of the place; on the contrary, Renaissance ceramics were found and a paved road of rather recent construction was identified under the walls. Archaeological data therefore dates back its construction to the Renaissance or Modern Era.

Starting from this point and analyzing the historical and archival sources, Castelliere might have been a military post used by Pandolfo Malatesta to besiege Lovere in 1414 during the so-called War of Lovere and Valle Camonica. This war consolidated his dominion over the Bergamo and Brescia.

There are detailed records of the War of Lovere and the Val Camonica in the Malatesta registers. It started in 1413 with the conquest of the Iseo Riviera, Val Calepio and Val Cavallina; the first report on the siege of Lovere dates back to July 1414 when food was sent to the military camp.

Lovere was captured in November 1414, after being besieged for months, as recalled by the notary Lorenzo Scano of Gandino: “Saturday 3 November, Matteo da Faenza entered Val Cavallina with a large group of men. They headed for Lovere and that day they captured the Castle, the village and hill of San Zenone [St. John] and there was a great deal of plundering“. We know that a messenger was paid for bringing the “good news of Lovere” to Bergamo on 4th November.

Pandolfo Malatesta exiled the most hostile of Lovere and assigned control of the town to his loyal followers from Castro and the Val Seriana (Seriana Valley).

Four years after capturing Lovere, Pandolfo Malatesta had a bastia (stronghold) built to better defend the town: it has been suggested the so-called Castelliere, as this is the only structure similar to a bastia.

Lovere exiles could only return to the village and their homes when Pandolfo Malatesta was defeated by the Visconti in 1419.

Since 2014 the mighty walls of the Castelliere have been made usable thanks to an educational path created by a project of the Municipality of Lovere on funding from the Lombardy Region that guides the site tour.

for the visit

Opening time

The archaeological site is freely accessible, all year round.


Via del Castelliere, Lovere. Infopoint Alto Lago d’Iseo, tel. 035 962178,

Other information

Free parking in via Gerone, then the site is reachable by foot in about five minutes along via del Castelliere. Not accessible to people with motor disabilities.