The visit of Simiane-la-Rotonde Castle will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the millennial history of a building that succeeded a former Roman oppidum. Property of Simiane Agoult, it knew several important reorganizations according to periods of intense activities or partial abandonments. From 1031, it appears already in an act of donation towards the abbey of St Victor (Marseille) as Castrum, a fortified space with lands in dependence of a lord. The oldest part of the castle is the big truncated cone-shaped tower, the old dungeon, more than 18 meters high, formerly surrounded by a wide dry ditch. The recent restorations will allow visitors to more accurately apprehend the living space of the occupants of the Middle Ages. A permanent exhibition devoted to the history of the castle and the family takes place in a beautiful Romanesque room: you will discover architectural elements found in the courtyard during the last archaeological excavations, as well as copies of handwritten documents testifying to local events. If the castle still needs to find new archive documents to reveal all its mysteries, it will not fail to fascinate you with its centerpiece: the rotunda, the ceremonial hall of the dungeon with its magnificent helical vault opening on a zenith oculus. Expressive stone masks, from a symbolic medieval bestiary, and overlooking the capitals of the room, coexist today with contemporary works, renewed as exhibitions. A festival of early music resonates every summer in August this beautiful building that once hosted troubadours. From the accessible part of the terrace built on a building of the eleventh century, you will admire the breathtaking view of the roofs below, the valley covered with lavander fields (in season) and the hills covered with white oaks. The renovated Renaissance apartment hosts now exhibitions and the Sainte Victoire aromatherapy laboratory (Young Living Group) introduces visitors to the benefits of aromatic molecules derived from essential oils. Classified as a historic monument since 1841, owned by the municipality since 1999, the castle remains a bet on the future, supported by the municipal team and all those working to enhance the value and dynamism of this millenary site.
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