Located halfway between Riva and Solto, Zorzino retains traces of important medieval residential buildings, a feature that it shares with the hamlets that constituted until 1928 the largest Community or Union of Solto: Riva, Gargarino and Zorzino. Riva was the port on lake of Solto: originally made up of several small hamlets, it is tightly packed with north-south oriented alleys that lead to the lake where in ancient times there were docking wharves. These hamlets were equipped with some defences which can still be recognised today.
The small village of Gargarino, between Riva and Zorzino, is located around a tiny square with a tower-house with embrasures; not far, to the south stands the church of San Cassiano (St. Cassian), the only medieval religious building in Riva di Solto. Within its territory there was the district of Bataino, perhaps a place name clue to a small temporary fortification.
The centre of Zorzino is located between Gargarino and Solto and is characterised by the presence of some medieval buildings: set apart to the east towards Bogn is the oldest part of the Castle. The area, now only partly built, has the distinctive annular pattern of medieval fortified villages, which indicates the pre-existence of defensive structures made of perishable materials.
Between the 12th and 13th Centuries a stately home was built within the boundaries of the castle, now still characterized by the presence of masonry buildings and a tower. It is likely that by this time the people had begun to move further west in the area of the current village of Zorzino, where buildings from the 13th and 14th Century can still be observed.
The stately home of the castle was extended during the 14th Century, but in the early 15th Century it was partly demolished. It was soon restored and rebuilt, and in 1502 the property in the castle, now reduced to simple residence, is described as a “Domum seu petias terre casata solerata et copata iacente in territorio di Zorzino ubi dicitur in Castello quam domum solita est gaudere Andreas fq. Johannis de dicto Lazeri”.
It was documented in 1774 as the “Tower House” which most probably referred to the main building of the Castle of Zorzino.
For more information:
PASINELLI B., Riva di Solto, Zorzino e Gargarino, Bergamo 2013, p. 203.
Cover photo credits: F. Benaglio