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  • The Italian Institute of Castles is a nonprofit cultural organization, founded in 1964 on the initiative of Piero Gazzola (author of the International Charter for the Restoration of Monuments) and erected into a Ente Morale, recognized by the Ministry of Culture in 1991, when it acquired legal personality. The Institute, (ONLUS in 2001), is associated with a European body sponsored by UNESCO, Europa Nostra-Internationales Burgen Institut. Two representatives of the Institute are permanent members of Europa Nostra’s Scientific Council.

    The organization promotes the historical, archaeological and artistic study of fortified buildings, their preservation and conservation and, finally, their inclusion in the active cycle of contemporary life. It is the first to have begun working in this direction throughout the country. It also carries out intensive scientific and tourist public awareness work tending to spread knowledge, appreciation and the will to protect fortified architecture to ever wider strata of the population. In more than fifty years of activity, it has accumulated an unparalleled cultural and scientific background, and is the most authoritative interlocutor with public and private entities on issues pertaining to defensive constructions (castles, walled villages, forts, towers and castellated residences). In this sense, it dialogues and collaborates systematically with peripheral organs of the Ministry, as well as with local authorities, in numerous activities having the purpose of cultural promotion.

    The Institute is divided into Regional Sections which, autonomous in their activities within their sphere, respond in general lines to a National Governing Council; study and research activities are coordinated by a special Scientific Council, composed of professors from Italian universities and experts of recognized national and international merit.

    Major initiatives include the Degree Prize on Fortified Architecture, now in its XXIV edition, and the National Castles Days (XXIII edition). Also of note are trips and study visits to Italy and abroad, conferences, seminars, lectures and courses on castellology.

    One of the distinctive features of the Institute is its vast and qualified publishing production. Prominent among this is the “Castella” series, which has over a hundred monographs to its credit, the prestigious scientific journal “Castellum” as well as the general information journal “Cronache Castellane”