The bitter battles that led to the Unification of Italy, the so-called ‘Italian Risorgimento‘, took place in the gentle, rolling morainic hills of Lake Garda…
No less than three Wars of Independencewere fought around the bell towers of Custoza (Verona), San Martino (Brescia) and Solferino(Mantova) where, amidst fierce fighting, the idea of today's 'Bel Paese' was put into practice, driving the archaic Austro-Hungarian dominion to surrender.
The Rocca di Solferinowas built in 1022 on the top of the hill that overlooks the town. This hill represents the highest point in the province of Mantova.
Over time it acquired strategic value due to its geographical position, which earned it the nickname of "Spia d’Italia"(Spy of Italy) during the Risorgimento: until 1866 the state border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire was actually not far from this fortress. In 1866, following the Third War of Independence, it lost this role due to the unification of Veneto with Italy.
On 24 June 1859, it was the scene of the bloody battle of Solferino and San Martino, an armed battle of the Second War of Independence, during which the French-Piedmontese and Austrian armies fought for control of the fortress. After a period of neglect, the Rocca underwent major restoration in 1870, when it became a museum. It was restored again in 2011 on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy.