Amigo's Castle - Lightning Ridge

13 October 2014 by Johno

Categories: Opal Fields | Opal Fields Characters | Australian Opal

Amigo's Castle at Lightning Ridge Opal Field

The last time we visited Amigo's Castle was in the 1990's. Amigo was still constructing it with no finish date in sight. He also didn't like visitors at that time so Barbara was lucky to be invited in to take some photographs, and to meet Amigo. You can read about that visit and see photo's in my earlier post on Amigo's Castle on this web site.

In August 2014 we again visited Lightning Ridge Opal Field to see how things had changed. Of course we had to check out Amigo's Castle as it was now on the visiting agenda of at least two local tourist companies. For a gold coin donation you can visit the castle and have a good look around. They have even prepared a professional little booklet which shows pictures and snippets of Amigo's (Vittorio Stefanato's) story.

Vittorio Stefanato - Amigo

Vittorio arrived in Australia at 22 years of age in 1970. He traveled to Tennant Creek and Mount Isa before finally arriving at Lightning Ridge in February 1973. He started using local stone to create a camp while he looked for opal. That camp kept growing and for the next 40 years he kept adding to it until now it is a major tourist attraction for this unique town. There were no plans for his structure and he has his fair share of run-ins with the local council. I understand he cannot get permission to roof in the structure so it will never be completed. But don't let this stop you from visiting. It is truly a magnificent structure and very well constructed.

We didn't get to meet Amigo this time. He was back in Italy having a well earned holiday, but we did get to meet Anita. Anita keeps the castle in order, shows tourists around and answers questions. She has also set up an art display of her work in one of the rooms of the castle. Anita is a local artist who arrived in Lightning Ridge at the age of thirteen She has lived in the region ever since. Some of the photo's show examples of Anita's work on display at the castle.

The castle has certainly expanded since we here last.

IMG_5337 A section of Amigo's Castle Lightning Ridge

Part of Amigo's Castle

This photo shows the quality of the stonework and eye for detail that Amigo has.

IMG_5346 Detailed stonework in Amigo's Castle

Amazing detail in stonework of the castle

This photo taken from the inside shows the arched windows he has constructedand also the fine attention to detail of the stonework.

IMG_5339 View of Amigo's Castle through window

View through window onto Amigo's Casle

For those of you with an artistic bent there are wonderful textures and other photographic opportunities.

IMG_5353 View of Courtyard at Amigo's Castle

Courtyard at Amigo's castle

Again note the attention to detail on the inside of the castle. The next three photos are of Anita's art which is on display.

IMG_5361 Anita's Artwork on display in Amigo's castle

Anita's Artwork

IMG_5360 More of Anita's Artwork on sale in Amigo's Castle

More of Anita's Artwork

SONY DSC Still more of Anita's Artwork on display at Amigo's Castle

More of Anita's Artwork

Her paintings are quite striking and unique and well worth a look and the viewing is free.

Amigo is apparently a bit of a recluse nowadays we were told. He doesn't like talking to tourists and you can sort of get an idea of what he is like by the signs around the castle.

Signs of the Times by Amigo

IMG_5367 Sign erected by Amigo

Amigo's thoughts

IMG_5371 Sign showing Amigo's sense of humour

Amigo's sense of humour

SONY DSC Sign showing Amigo's prophecy

Amigo's prophecy

IMG_5376 Sign showing Amigo's bad humour

Amigo in a bad mood

Amigo's castle is now part of the landscape at Lightning Ridge. It is well worth seeking out and you don't gave to take a tour to see it. For a two dollar donation anyone can walk around the castle and admire the stonework and the tenacity of the man who has made this his lifetime work. And don't forget Anita's art.

You can look up further images of Amigo's castle here.

Also if you Google "Amigo The King of His Castle" you will be able to read even more about Amigo.


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