Castles and fortifications in Italy

Montessoro Castle

According local sources the first castle in Montessoro was built in the 13th century. It was acquired by Spinola family in 1330 and the rebuilt the new castle in the early 15th century. The castle was used until 1797 when it was destroyed and abandoned in wars between French and local armies.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Isola del Cantone, Italy

Nus Castle

The Nus castle stands above the same name village on a rocky projection, which dominates the entrance to the valley of Saint-Barthélemy. According to available documentation, the building can be traced at least as far back as the end of the 13th century, although the quadrangular turret, which collapsed at the start of the 20th century, and which stood in the eastern sector of the castle, can be compared to the towers e ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Nus, Italy

Castello di Mongialino

Castello di Mongialino was first time mentioned in the mid-12th century by Muslim geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. Later it become a feudal castle of Normans and their descendants. Today it is ruined, but the massive keep exits quite well-preserved.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Mineo, Italy

Serravalle Castle

Serravalle Castle was built in the 13th century and enlarged probably in the 16th century. The stables and other annexed buildings were added in the 19th century. Today the castle exterior is one of the best preserved in the Eastern Sicily.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mineo, Italy

Roccavaldina Castle

The ancient village of Roccavaldina was conquered by Romans, Byzantine and Arabs. Later in the Middle Ages, it was ruled by Roger I, who built numerous monasteries with the aim to spread the Christian culture over the area. The Valdina Castle was built as a stronghold in the 16th century and later transformed in a prive aristocratic house; the Chemistry Museum is an ancient shop created in 1628 which contains over 200 apo ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Roccavaldina, Italy

Inici Castle

Inici Castle in Monte Icini mountain existed maybe already in pre-Roman age. The current structure dates mainly from the 11th century. In the 17th century it belonged to Jesuits, who enlarged the site. Later the castle has been restored as a residence and in 1960 there were still 60 people living on it. It was abandoned in 1968 after been damaged by earthquake.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Castellammare del Golfo, Italy

San Michele Castle

San Michele Castle was built in the 11th century by Norman invaders. It is currently in in ruinous state as well as the adjacent San Michele church.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Santa Maria del Cedro, Italy

Castello Grimani-Sorlini

The undisputed symbol of Montegalda is the ancient castle which dominates the entire plain, one lucky survivor of the three manors, two of which stood in Montegaldella and Cervarese S. Croce. The building changed over the years and in the 18th century it was transformed from a military facility into a Venetian villa. Its foundation dates back probably to 1176 but in the courtyard a foundation of the Roman period was found ...
Founded: 1176 | Location: Montegalda, Italy

Bastion of the Knights of Malta

The Bastion of the Knights of Malta is a massive, well-preserved watchtower built in 1550 by the Spanish viceroy of Naples Pedro de Toledo. It was assigned to the Knights, who had a fief in the neighbourhood. Ruins of several other watchtowers are in the area.
Founded: 1550 | Location: Lamezia Terme, Italy

Brina Castle

The castle of Brina is located on the left slope of a hill in the lower Val di Magra, along the ridge between Falcinello and Ponzano Superiore, within the district of Sarzana and on the border with Santo Stefano di Magra. The original part of the castle could date back to the 11th century. It was first mentioned in a sales contract on May 25, 1055. The houses, the lands and the castle’s walls were mentioned in a sales d ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Sarzana, Italy

Castle of the Naselli d'Aragona

Il Castle of the Naselli d'Aragona is one of the most important historical buildings in Comiso. The probable construction of the castle took place around the 12th century, thanks to the testimony of several documents from the 13th century which mention its presence. It remained the residence of the noble Naselli family for a long time until, in 1693, the devastating earthquake. Architecture Although a large part of the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Comiso, Italy

Bivona Castle

The first reliable evidence of feudalism in Bivona dates back to 11 October 1299, when Robert of Anjou, the King of Naples, granted the castles of Bivona and Calatamauro to Giacomo de Catania. The castle mentioned in this decree was probably a watchtower which had been built as part of the walls of Bivona around the time of the War of the Sicilian Vespers. Eventually, the castle began to be built in the first half of the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Vibo Valentia, Italy

Fortino di Mazzallakkar

The Fortino di Mazzallakkar is a ruined Arab fort in Sambuca di Sicilia. It is located near Lago Arancio, and is partially submerged by its waters for six months of every year. The Fortino di Mazzallakkar was built by the Arabs in around 830 AD, possibly to defend the territory around Sambuca di Sicilia, which was then known as Zabut. The fort was still in good condition until the mid-20th century, and it was used as a ...
Founded: 830 AD | Location: Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy

Casteldoria Castle

Casteldoria Castle was built around the 12th century by the Genoese Doria family, and passed from the Genoese dominion to the Aragonese, then to the Arborea Giudicato and lastly to the Malaspina family. Only a few ruins remain of the fortress: parts of the walls, the remains of a chapel and a large cistern that was probably used to collect and store water. The famous tower, on the other hand, is well-preserved, and is an ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Santa Maria Coghinas, Italy

Stilo Castle

The Castle of Stilo was built by Norman king Roger I of Sicily upon Monte Consolino in the 11th century. In the 13th century, it was one of the seventeen castles in Calabria managed by Reale Curia during the reign of Charles I of Naples and it was also used as a prison. In that period, it was subjected to maintenance as written in folio 233 of 1281 of Regia Zecca Archive. The castle is reachable by two main paths: from t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Stilo, Italy

Arena Castle

The castle of Arena was built by the Norman king Roger I the 11th century, to protect the pass of Berra and to defend the dominions on the Tyrrhenian side of the greenhouses against the risk of potential attacks from the eastern side, where Byzantines and Arabs had important positions. The administrative and military control of the feud of Arena was entrusted to the Conclubet family, which for over 600 years was confirme ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Arena, 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.