Catajo Castle was built on orders of the Obizzi family, who originated from BurgundyÂ (France). In Italian history they are considered “soldiers of fortune” who arrived in Italy following emperor Henry II in 1007. In a time of peace, Pio Enea I Obizzi (who gave the name to the howitzer, a siege cannon, in Italian obice), attracted by the beauty of the Euganean Hills, decided to build a palace that would represent the glory of the Obizzi family, enlarging what previously was the maternal house built during the firts few decades of the 16th century, today known as Casa di Beatrice. The castle was designed by Pio Enea himself, aided by the architect Andrea Da Valle, and it was conceived as halfway between a military castle and a royal villa.
The most important part of the castle, called Castel Vecchio, was built in just three years, between 1570 and 1573, although many of the extensions were completed in the second half of the 19th century. The plan in the beginning was to just paint the external walls (now only partially visible), but in 1571 Pio Enea asked Gian Battista Zelotti, disciple of Paolo Veronese, to decorate the inside walls with beautiful paintings depicting the deeds of his family, creating one of the most spectacular fresco cycles of Venetian villas.
The Obizzi stock became extinct in 1830 after marquis Tommaso gave the castle to the heirs of the House of Este, Archdukes of Modena; the new owners Francis IV and Maria Beatrice of Savoia loved the castle and had the most visible wing to the north, Castel Novo, built to host the visiting Austrian imperial court. With the death of Francis V, who was childless, the castle was passed on to Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria. These last two owners were responsible for transfering the vast collection of archeological remains, musical instruments, weapons and paintings put together by the Obizzi to Vienna and to the Konopiste castle in Prague. After the First World War Catajo Castle was confiscated by the Italian government as war reparation. It was auctioned after the Great Depression of 1929 and bought by the Dalla Francesca family who resold it at the end of 2015. The castle is privately owned to this day.