Mysterious Paintings in the Donjon of an Italian Castle

Mysterious Paintings in the Donjon of an Italian Castle

Note the date next to the dove.
Note the date next to the dove.

When I visited the castle in Gorizia, Italy, the part that intrigued me most was the donjon. This cramped room is a grim little place with no window to the outside. It was used for several centuries and over the years bored prisoners decorated the walls and vaulted ceiling with drawings. Religious motifs, sailing ships, people, and a number of abstract shapes caught my attention.

The light was terrible, so apologies for the quality of the photographs. Nevertheless I found these images compelling and I was left wondering who made them and what became of them. Alas, the staff at the castle had no idea. They didn’t have any information on the paintings and didn’t know who to ask. Since I was heading to Slovenia the next day, I didn’t get to delve into the question further. If anyone can shed any light on these images, please share!

Welcome to your new home. . .
Welcome to your new home. . .
Someone's girlfriend?
Someone’s girlfriend?
Dreaming of sailing away. . .
Dreaming of sailing away. . .



The rest of the castle also had wall paintings, both religious scenes. . .
. . .and the family crest.
. . .and the family crest.

Sean McLachlan is a freelance travel and history writer. He is also the author of the historical fantasy novel A Fine Likeness, set in Civil War Missouri. His historical fantasy novella The Quintessence of Absence, was published by Black Gate. Find out more about him on his blog and Amazon author’s page.

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Fascinating. Do you know what the prisoners used to draw the pictures? The red color almost gives the impression of blood, but I’m sure that’s not it.

Joe H.

I see the makings of a new Da Vinci Code-style thriller! Preferably written by somebody better than Dan Brown!

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