What comes first to your mind when you think of Italy? Of course, it’s rolling hills, authentic dishes, serene hamlets, monuments, and vineyards that first come to mind when we think of Italy. But it goes without a doubt that Italy is more than just about ancient monuments, eclectic gelato stands, and churches. You may also visit some of the most exciting medieval castles in Italy.
Italy is the land of the turbulent and rich history of royal families having a cold war for the power. There are also different castles in Italy from several eras. In these sites, you will admire the magnificent architecture and adore Italian history related to them. Italy is indeed a land of most admired destinations across Europe.
It is a country of complex history and significant landscapes. Without further ado, listed here are some of the most majestic and intriguing castles in Italy.
Table of Contents
- 1 Here’s the list of the castles in Italy
- 1.1 Aragonese Castle of Otranto
- 1.2 Castello Estense
- 1.3 Castello del Valentino
- 1.4 Castello Ursino
- 1.5 Castel Fontana
- 1.6 Miramare Castle
- 1.7 Castel Nuovo
- 1.8 Sforza Castle
- 1.9 Aragonese Castle
- 1.10 Castel dell’ Ovo
- 1.11 Three Towers of San Marino
- 1.12 Fort Bard
- 1.13 Buonconsiglio Castle
- 1.14 Castel Sant’Angelo
- 1.15 Castel Del Monte
- 2 → Check out these activities in Italy
- 3 Are you on Pinterest? Pin this for later read!
Here’s the list of the castles in Italy
Aragonese Castle of Otranto
Otranto is a commune and a town in Lecce province in a fertile land that was once known for its horses breed. Located on the east of Salento, the Strait of Otranto is named after this city. It connects the Ionian Sea with the Adriatic Sea and splits Italy from Albania. The harbor has little trade and is small in size.
At around 5 km (3 miles) southeast of Otranto, Faro della Palascia lighthouse marks the most easterly point of the mainland of Italy. The district between the Otranto and promontory is densely populated and is exceptionally fertile.
Alphonso II of Naples rebuilt the Aragonese Castle of Otranto, and Emperor Frederick II reinforced it in 1485-98. It has an uneven plan having five sides with a moat going through the whole perimeter. It originally had one entrance, which can be reached only through Draw Bridge.
It has three cylindrical towers as well as a bastion known as Diamond’s Head (Punta di Diamante). The entrance has Emperor Charles V’s coat of arms.
FIND HOTEL DEALS: Best hotels in Otranto.
Also known as Castello di San Michele, the Castello Estense is a medieval Italian castle with a moat in the heart of Ferrara in North Italy. It has four corner towers and a large block. Essentially, the castle presents the look given by Girolamo da Carpi in another half of the 16th century.
It has three entrances having drawbridges fronted by ravelins of brickwork. Towards the east, the fourth entry was sacrificed to make way for kitchens.
The look of this Italian chateau still recalls an ancient fortress at the bottom. But da Carpi has replaced battlements higher up with beautiful balconies on series of corbels in white stone. The towers have become more graceful and improved with roof terraces.
FIND HOTEL DEALS: Best hotels in Ferrara
Castello del Valentino
Castello del Valentino (Castle of Valentino) is a medieval chateau in Italy located in the northwest of Turin. It is a seat of the Architecture Faculty of the Polytechnic University of Turin in Parco del Valentino. It is ranked UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 as a residence of the Royal House of Savoy.
Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy has bought the ancient castle on the suggestion of Andrea Palladio. Castello del Valentino was first discussed in the year 1275, and it is supposed to come from Valentine, a saint whose relics were respected in a church nearby.
The existing structure is built by the wife of Victor Amadeus I, Princess Christine Marie of France (1606-1663), who lived here from 1630. The castle was entirely rebuilt by an architect, Carlo di Castellamonte with his son Amedeo.
FIND HOTEL DEALS: Best hotels in Turin.
Also known as Castello Svevo di Catania, Castello Ursino is a castle located in Catania, the city of Sicily. In the 13th century, it was constructed as a royal castle of the Kingdom of Sicily and was widely regarded for playing a vital role in the Sicilian Vespers when it was a seat of the Sicilian Parliament. Today, this Italian mansion is in excellent condition and is open as a museum.
Built from 1239 to 1250, Castello Ursino was the royal castle of Emperor Frederick II, the King of Sicily to close a chapter on the turbulent era in Sicily, which followed the death of William II, his predecessor. Local lords attempted to announce Independence, and all non-royal castles in Tuscany were destructed in 1220 by order of Frederick II in Sicily.
FIND HOTEL DEALS: Best hotels in Catania.
In the territory of the diocese of Chur, the castle was developed in 1241 by Wilhelm Tarent in Count Albert III’s service of Tirolo. This villa Italia was diminished over time and rebuilt.
Probably, the castle is named after a spring, which might have existed around this Roman castle. Its etymology was suggested by the attestations of the castle as Brunnberg in 1437 and Prunnenberch in 1285. The mansion was named after one of its several owners.
It was bought by Johann von Bopfingen and Heinrich, two brothers in 1356. Heinrich was Tirolo’s parish priest, who is Captain of the county of Tyrol and delegate of Ludwig von Brandenburg. He was nicknamed Troubadour.
Duke Federico Tascavuota owned the castle in 1421. Ulrich Putsch became Diocese of Bressanone’s bishop later on.
Located above the sea, the Miramare Castle is accessed from Trieste along the exotic coastal road. This dazzling white castle was home of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg (Emperor Franz Joseph’s brother).
It overlooks the ocean and is covered by a giant park full of exotic and rare tree species collected by Archduke in his expeditions across the world on the frigate Novara.
The castle was built for Maximilian as he fell for the view of the small bay and chose to construct his home where he lived with Charlotte of Belgium, who was his wife. Both of them could enjoy the exotic castle for just four years or so before they left for Mexico, where Maximilian became the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.
Also known as Maschio Angioino, Castel Nuovo is an ancient castle in front of Palazzo San Giacomo (the city hall) and Piazza Municipio in Central Naples in Campania. Its imposing size and scenic location make it truly exceptional. In 1279, it was initially built as one of the significant architectural marvels in the city. For the kings of Naples, Spain, and Aragon, it was a royal seat until 1815.
It is the headquarters of the Naples Committee of Institute for Italian Risorgimento and Neapolitan Society of Homeland History. It also has the civic museum in the complex, including the Palatine Chapel as well as the walkways of the museum on the second and first floors.
The castle has been used several times in the history as a short-term residence to host well-known personalities who went as a guest of the court to Naples.
It was built in the 15th century on the remnants of fortification in the 14th century by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was enlarged and renovated later and was among the most massive citadels of Europe. It was built exclusively in 1891-1905 by Luca Beltrami and now has a lot of museums in the city as well as art collections.
Across the walls of the city, it has a quadrangular floor plan. Once located in front of the countryside north to Milan, it has an ogival gate and square towers. It was also once accessed with a drawbridge. The western tower is known as Torre del Tesoro, and the northern one was Torre Della Corte, and both of them have wide windows.
Aragonese Castle is a historic castle located next to Ischia in the north of the Gulf of Naples. The mansion is situated over the rocky volcanic islet connecting to the larger Ischia Island through a causeway.
It is a stunning historical monument located in Ischia built with an aim to control the movements of enemy fleets. Then, the rock was occupied by the ancient residents of Naples, the Parthenopeans. Romans conquered the fortress in 326 BC, and Parthenopeans did it again.
Alfonso V of Aragon formed the connection of the rock to the island with a stone bridge in 1441 rather than the previous wood bridge, and the walls were also fortified to protect the residents over the raids of pirates.
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Castel dell’ Ovo
Located on the former island of Megaride, Castel dell’ Ovo is now a peninsula on the Gulf of Naples. The castle is named after a legend regarding a Roman poet named Virgil who is known as a great predictor and sorcerer in the Middle Ages.
Virgil kept the magical egg in the foundations to support its bases, according to the legend. If this egg had been broken, the castle would have been damaged along with various disasters for Naples. It is located between Chiaia and San Ferdinando districts in front of Mergellina over the ocean.
It is the oldest fortification alive in Naples. Megaride Island was positioned where Cumae’s colonists founded the nucleus of the city. It has a great view of Naples as well as the waterfront area.
Three Towers of San Marino
These are the group of towers in San Marino. These towers are positioned on the three Monte Titano peaks in the capital, which is also known as San Marino, and they are mentioned in both the coat of arms and the national flag.
The oldest of these towers is the Guaita and the most popular one. In the 11th century, it was built and served well as a prison. It was reconstructed several times until the 15th century and is still in the same form. It was last restored during the war between the House of Malatesta and San Marino.
The Cesta is positioned on the highest summits of Monte Titano. Saint Marinus was created in the year 1956, and the museum of honor is placed in this tower and presents around 1550 weapons from the Medieval Era to the present day. In the 13th century, it was built on the ruins of the ancient Roman fort.
The Montale is positioned on the smallest summits of Monte Titano. Unlike other towers, it is not open publicly. It was built in the 14th century. It has been created to protect against the rising power of the Malatesta family.
Also called as Bard Fort, Fort Bard is a fortified building erected in the 19th century on a rocky prominence by the House of Savoy above Bard town, and it is also a commune in Aosta Valley of northwestern Italy. It has been restored well after several years of ignorance.
It reopened in 2006 for the tourists as the Museum of the Alps and has new art galleries and exhibitions. The central courtyard is used in the summer to host theatrical and musical performances.
At the entryway to Aosta Valley, the fort is positioned in a narrow gorge of the Dora Baltea River. It has been used to control the old route for millennia between France and Italy. Charles Albert of Savoy built the existing fortifications from 1830 to 1838.
Buonconsiglio Castle is located in Trento of North Italy. Originated from a fortified complex, the castle was built in the 13th century next to the walls of the city. It was known as Old Castle (Castelvecchio) and was seat to Bishopric of Trent since the 13th century towards the end of the 18th century.
The castle has a series of buildings of various eras, enclosed by the walls in an elevated portion over the town.
FIND HOTEL DEALS: Best hotels in Trento.
Also known as Castel Sant’Angelo, the Mausoleum of Hadrian is a high cylindrical complex in Parco Adriano of Rome. Initially, it was ruled as a mausoleum by the Roman Emperor Hadrian for himself. Later on, it was used by popes as a castle and a fortress.
Castel Del Monte
It is a 13th-century castle and citadel located atop a hill in the Apulia region in Andria. During the 1240s, it was built by Emperor Frederick II during the 1240s, who inherited it from Constance of Sicily. The rest of the furnishings and interior marbles were removed during the 18th century.
It neither has a drawbridge nor has a moat, and some have never considered it to have been taken as a defensive castle. It had a curtain wall as it seems from the archeological fence.
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