Castles and fortifications in Italy

Haselburg Castle

The first castle built on the rock spur above Bolzano by the Lords of Haselberg dates back to the 12th century. This Haselberg castle is today known as Castle Flavon. Already in those days the fortress boasted a circular wall at its east and south flank, which could easily be assaulted. The great hall was located just above the porphry rocks. It is presumed that also a donjon already existed in these days. Only few docum ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Rafenstein Castle

The romantic ruin of Rafenstein castle rises high above the city of Bolzano at the entrance of Val Sarentino. The complex was constructed in the 13th century by the Bishop of Trento Friedrich von Wangen in order to control the commercial relationship between north and south and in order to keep the sovereignty of Bolzano. As this is also where an important commercial road passed by, this castle in the Mediaeval and stil ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Montmayeur Castle

Montmayeur Castle was built in 1271 by Anselmo and Aimone D´Avise on a steep promontory over the orographic right bank of the Dora Valgrisenche, in a position dominating the entrance to the valley of the same name. Today it is reduce to ruins, but preserves the cylindrical tower, crowned with beautiful swallowtail battlements. It is still possible to see the remains of the ancient castle and the boundary wall. Access i ...
Founded: 1271 | Location: Arvier, Italy

Illasi Castle

Illasi Castle was built in the 12th century. The structure, composed by a fortified palace and a single tower, surrounded by a wall, is extremely peculiar and almost unique in Europe. It is still unclear which lord built it. It already existed when the tyrant Ezzelino da Romano used it as a base for his wars. Later it became one of the main strongholds during the domination of the Della Scala family, lords of Verona. It ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Illasi, Italy

Forte Castellaccio

The walls of Forte Castellaccio also comprise the 19th-century Torre della Specola (1817-1820), built in a polygon shape using red brickwork, from which a large cannon was fired every day at 12 noon until just before the Second World War. The Torre houses a Meteorological Observatory belonging to the Hydrographical Institute of the Italian Navy.
Founded: 1818-1836 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Quezzi

Built during the 18th century at 289 metres above sea level, this fort was restored in the 19th century. Damaged during the Second World War, it is now abandoned.
Founded: 1747-1800 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Forte Richelieu

Rising on the Camaldoli hills at 415 metres above sea level, this fort owes its name to Cardinal Armand du Plessis de Richelieu, who defended the city during the siege of 1746-47. Built in the 18th century, it was later renovated in the 19th century.
Founded: 1747-1809 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Cassino Scanasio Castle

The Visconti Castle of Crenna is linked to the fame of Lodrisio Visconti, who raised against and then reconciled with the members of the family of his cousin Matteo Visconti, Lord of Milan. In the 14th century, the castle underwent expansion and destruction according to the alternative fortunes of Lodrisio. The Visconti Castle is located on the top of the hill overlooking the Arno valley, open on the opposite side to the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Gallarate, Italy

Katzenstein Castle

Katzenstein Castle in Meran (Merano)  was mentioned in 1258. It was largely rebuilt in 1580 and extensive restorations were carried out in 1860s. In 1938 Josef Menz purchased the castle. His family it is still lives in the castle today.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Meran, Italy

Grumello Castle

Grumello Castle was built in the 13th century to a steep slope. It had two separate buildings, joined by a wall which has almost completely lost. The castle was destroyed in 1512.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Montagna in Valtellina, Italy

Maccastorna Castle

Maccastorna (or Belpavone) Castle was built inthe 13th century. It has been in hands of several noble families, lates Bevilacqua Veronese family owned it until 1901.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Maccastorna, Italy

Visconti-Castelbarco Castle

On the site of the current Visconti-Castelbarco Castle, a fortification had been existing at least since the 10th century. At the end of the 13th century the castle became a property of the Visconti of Milan. It was then inherited by a lineage originated by Uberto, brother of Matteo Lord of Milan, initially the Visconti di Somma and later the Visconti di Cislago. Destroyed in the 17th century, it was raised again in the ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Cislago, Italy

Cavriana Castle

Towards the 11th century Cavriana became one of the properties of Canossa and it is in this period that the first fortification was probably built. Subsequently to the Canossa the ownership of the village passes to the free Municipality of Mantua that, to defend the boundaries from the growing power of the Municipality of Verona, grants it to the family of the Riva with defensive tasks but, in the second half of the XIII ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cavriana, Italy

Cairo Montenotte Castle

Cairo Montenotte castle is famous for having been the object of fighting up to the 16th and 17th centuries because of the battles of succession between the Genoese, the French, the Spanish and the Savoys. These battles devastated this region, causing it to be abandoned definitively by the last owners, who preferred to remain in the village.The origins of the castle go back to long ago, more specifically to the period betw ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cairo Montenotte, Italy

Punta Pagana Fortress

Together with the Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure to the west and the Castello di Rapallo to the east, Castello di Punta Pagana formed part of the Genoese coastal defence system for the protection of villages on the western Tigullio gulf. Construction of the fort began in April 1625 by the Republic of Genoa. Its construction became necessary due to the open hostilities between Genoa and Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of S ...
Founded: 1625 | Location: Rapallo, Italy

Suvero Castle

The castle of Suvero was built in the 12th century by the Malaspinadi Villafranca on a hill overlooking the village. During the 15th century it was assigned to the Campofregoso, after Genoa had conquered the territories of the Malaspina. At the behest of King Louis XII, the Genoese returned it to the original owners. After the death of Spinetta Malaspina, lord of Suvero, it became an independent fief assigned to Rinaldo M ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Rocchetta di Vara, Italy

Poggiodiana Castle

The remains of Poggiodiana Castle, or Misilcassino Castle, of Ribera are constituted by part of the perimeter walls and two towers, a quadrangular portion and a cylindrical, 25 meters in height and about 30 meters in circumference, of particular interest for the characteristic crowning corbels. Developed in about 3000 m² with an irregular plan, from the north side svettava on a precipice of over 300 meters, at the foot ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ribera, Italy

Annenberg Castle

Annenberg castle was built in the 13th century (first mentioned in 1252). At the end of the 15th century the castle was largely extended by the lords of Annenberg and the ring wall with the four towers was laid out as a consequence of the Swabian War. The castle started to decay at the end of the 17th century.  The central Palas was restored to habitable again in the early 1900s.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Latsch, Italy

Moos-Schulthaus Castle

Moos-Schulthaus is composed of several residential and farm buildings and combines Castel Moos with the Schulthaus Residence. The history of both, once in separated ownership, dates back to the 13th century. In 1958 the merchant Walther Amonn from Bolzano purchased the castle and had the residence restored. In the course of these works, whitewashed frescoes of the period around 1400 AD were discovered. Since 2013 Castel M ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Eppan, Italy

Ried Castle

Ried Castle is a rather small castle probably built around 1200. It was extended about 50 years later. Towards the end of the 13th century, the castle was owned by the von Wangen family. Today, the well-preserved castle is privately owned and can not be visited.
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Late Baroque Town of Ragusa

The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.