The Lantieri tower plays a major role in the architectural and historical heritage of Paratico, given the intrinsic characteristics of the monument, and also the landscape and environmental aspect. In fact, the tower can be admired in all its height on all four sides, showing almost the entire medieval wall apparatus.
The uniformity of the face is enhanced, at the corner hinges, by rusticated ashlar and finely smoothed edges that follow a perfectly vertical line.
The building, which basically represents a single construction phase, was built by the Lantieri family presumably in the 14th Century, along with some adjacent fortress-houses, enclosed within a defensive wall.
Its construction may be the work of Giacomo Lanfranchino who, in the late 14th Century, wanted it to be used to expand the fortified apparatus of the village.
Only the top part seems to have some work done, during the course of the 15th Century, consisting of the closing off of the large openings in the attic and the creating of dovecoats on the east and south sides.
The tower is square shaped and stands about 15 m tall, divided into four levels. To ensure better defence, it was built on a rocky spur which was accessed via an outside set of steps.
The main entrance consists of a superior quality portal built with large finely levelled blocks and a round arch with jagged lintel and the keystone boasting the coat of arms of Lantieri.
The ground floor, covered by a slightly pointed arch stone barrel vault, served as a cellar and storage room especially in the Middle Ages. The next level was accessed internally through an open hatch in the vault, whilst from the outside by means of a wooden staircase, rebuilt later on with steps in monolithic stone. The upper floors were probably reached by open wooden staircases in the attics.
The windows have maintained the characteristics of the original openings: round arch slightly lowered with a monolithic lintel and carved stone jambs. A shield bearing the coat of arms of the Lantieri family, simplified in the half moon with two side stars, is located in the east window of the third floor, chiselled into the middle of the arch.
The site where the tower once stood was certainly a central hub in the urban topography of medieval Paratico: Just slightly south there was the square and the church of Sant’Antonio (St. Anthony), subsequently dedicated to San Carlo (St. Charles), from where the hill started that led to the castle.
The royal road (as still referred to in the Napoleonic Cadastre in 1810) went through the square and to the foot of the tower, in its way from Iseo and Capriolo heading towards Rivatico, where it crossed the River Oglio to reach Sarnico.
It is not to be excluded that the tower was enclosed by an additional defensive wall that surrounded the lower perimeter of the small hillock.
Following a major preservative restoration work which ended in late 2009, commissioned by the Paratico Town Council, the property was turned into a museum and a Quadrisfera was placed on the ground floor, an innovative installation designed specifically to engage the visitor in a complete experience of images, sounds and emotions. The visitor enters a darkened room, and from the moment the Quadrisfera lights up, is literally part of a new world, made of endlessly multiplied images, thanks to a system of mirrors and lights. Don’t try to fix your gaze on a single monitor, just let yourself be swept away by the multitude of the images. The introduction video clip talks about the history of Franciacorta to Lake Iseo, all the way to Paratico, with its folklore traditions, crafts and personalities that have shaped the history of the village.