Castles and fortifications in Italy

Acaya Castle

Acaya Castle wa built by the Knight Alfonso of Acaya in around 1506. In the following years, his son Gian Giacomo dell"Acaya, a famous architect, rebuilt the entire complex, transforming it into a fortified hamlet and making it the main centre of his estate. He also renamed it Acaya. After his death in 1570, the hamlet was sold and Acaya began to decline slowly, until its rebirth in the 20th century. The Castle, ...
Founded: 1506 | Location: Acaya, Italy

Castle of Charles V

The Crotone castle, commonly called the Castle of Charles V, was created on the ancient Greek settlement. The spurred bulk of the manor is a unique kind when we speak about medieval and Renaissance fortresses because it highlights the historical development of military architecture from the pouncing defence (towers) to the grazing defence (ramparts). It is also the only example of a castle perched not on the top of a hill ...
Founded: c. 840 AD | Location: Crotone, Italy

Arco Castle Ruins

Arco Castle ruins are located on a prominent spur high above Arco and the Sarca Valley. The exact date of its foundation is unknown but it existed at least after the year 1000 AD. The area around Arco was inhabited already before the Middle Ages, the castle was said to have been built by the citizens and only later becoming the property of the local nobles. The counts of Arco, probably of Italian origin, were first menti ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Arco, Italy

Castello a Mare

Castello a Mare is an ancient fortress that guarded the entrance to the port at Palermo in La Cala. Extensive remains are visible, some of which are open to the public. There is a Norman keep, a fortified gate or entrance, and remains of a sophisticated Renaissance star-shaped defence.
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Palermo, Italy

Castello Barbarossa

Castello Barbarossa is an archaeological ruin and ornithological station on the island of Capri. It derives its name from the pirate and Ottoman admiral, Hayreddin, nicknamed Barbarossa ('Redbeard'), who stormed it in 1535 and destroyed it in 1544. The construction date is uncertain but it perhaps dates back to the late ninth century. From 1898, the structure, now in ruins, was owned by the Swedish psychiat ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Capri, Italy

San Giorgio Castle

The Castle of San Giorgio, overlooking the city of La Spezia, originates from a watchtower with the first castle on the site being built in 1262 by the ruler of the area Nicolò Fieschi with the intension of strengthen his domination in the area. Today only the base portion of the watchtower is preserved and this is included in the upper part of the structure. In 1273 the castle was destroyed by the Genoese Republic unde ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: La Spezia, Italy

Lonato Castle

The Lonato medieval castle 'La Rocca' rises on a hill which dominates the southern part of Lake Garda and is one of the most impressive castles in all of Lombardy. Set inland, overlooking the ancient town of Lonato, the Rocca is an imposing structure nearly 180 meters long and 45 meters wide, complete with drawbridge! Throughout the years and centuries, Lonato del Garda was ruled by various peoples and families who fough ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Lonato, Italy

Soave Castle

Soave castle was built in 934 to protect the area against the Hungarian invasions. It was remodelled by Cansignorio of the Scaliger family in the mid-1300s. in 1365 Cansignorio had the town walls erected and the Town hall was built in the same year. The castle underwent various vicissitudes until, having lost its strategic importance, it was sold on the private market in 1596. In 1830 it was inherited by Giulio Camuzzoni ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Soave, Italy

Baia Castle

The late 15th century Baia Castle was built by the  over ancient Roman ruins thought to be the summer residence of Julius Caesar. On the 29th September 1538 the great eruption, with devastating effects for all the Phlegraean Fieldsi, caused serious damage to the Castle of Baia too. The castle was restored and enlarged by the viceroy don Pedro Alvarez de Toledo. Today, this cliffside Aragonese castle with sea views ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bacoli, Italy

Monselice Castle

Monselice town is known of an imposing architectural complex called Castello Cini, which incorporates several diverse types of building. From the 6th to the 16th centuries the castle has changed from a luxurious residence, to defensive tower to become a Venetian villa.The Castle is made up, in fact, of four main nucleuses: the most ancient part is the Roman house (Casa Romanica, 11th century) which together with the Caste ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Monselice, Italy

Barletta Castle

Barletta Castle was initially erected in the 10th century by the Normans as a typical motte and bailey structure. During the Crusade period, it was a used as a hostel for soldiers leaving for the Holy Land. It was upgraded and enlarged substantially under the reign of Frederick II between 1225 and 1228. This corresponds to the period in which he launched a crusade from here, the Sixth Crusade. The castle was later expand ...
Founded: 1225-1228 | Location: Barletta, Italy

Forte Diamante

Forte Diamante is one of the most characteristic forts of Genoa"s entire network of defensive walls. It was built in 1758 right on the summit of Monte Diamante, at about 667 metres above sea level. Its position overlooking the Polcevera and Bisagno valleys and its distance from the city centre made this fort the city"s first defensive bastion against raids from the North.
Founded: 1758 | Location: Genoa, Italy

Modica Castle

Modica Castle is located on the top of a small mountain. For a long time it was the political center of the Modica County, inhabited first by the counts and then by the governors, who succeeded each other without ever changing the Castle with other administrative offices. The current structure can be widely visited, although some points have been destroyed over time, still leaving some remains thanks to which it was possi ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Modica, Italy

Sigmundskron Castle

Sigmundskron Castle (Castel Firmiano) is an extensive castle and set of fortifications near Bolzano in South Tyrol. The first historical mention of the castle dates back to AD 945. In 1027 Emperor Conrad II transferred it to the Bishop of Trent. In the 12th century it was given to ministeriales, who from then on were named the Firmian family. Around 1473 the Prince of Tyrol, Duke Sigismund the Rich, bought the castle, r ...
Founded: 945 AD | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Gangi Castle

The medieval village of Gangi is one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily. The 14th century Ventimiglia castle, located on the highest point of Mount Marone, was the ancient seat of the county lords, Palazzo Sgadari and Palazzo Bongiorno. It was restored as a residental palace during the 17th century.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gangi, Italy

Trani Castle

Trani has lost its old city walls and bastions, but the 13th-century fort has been extensively restored as a museum and performance venue and is open to the public.  The castle was commissioned by Frederick II of Swabia in 1230. It was completed three years later, although consolidation of the structure continued for a further fifteen years. Like many other castles, it was modified in the 16th century when Charles V rei ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Trani, Italy

Pantelleria Castle

The foundation of the castle on the island of Pantelleria can possibly traced back to the Arab or Byzantine period in Sicily, even if it is not attested with certainty before the 13th century. The Castello Barbacane is located in the centre of Pantelleria town at the entrance of the old harbour and is accessed via a staircase from the Via Castello. It was a bulwark to protect the maritime trade of the island, facing th ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pantelleria, Italy

Pergine Castle

Because of its strategic position guarding the Via Claudia Augusta Altinate, Historians use to think Pergine Castle rises on the site of an old prehistoric fortress, which later became a Roman settlement; later on, it was transformed into a Longobard stronghold. Erected in the 13th century, it belonged to the Dukes of Austria, under the reign of Margarete Maultasch, and then to the Emperor Maximilian I. In 1531, it becam ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pergine Valsugana, Italy

Santa Lucia del Mela Castle

The peak of Santa Lucia del Mela was an important military outpost. On the remains of the former city walls the Byzantines built a fort, subsequently rebuilt by the Arabs between 837 and 851. Frederick II of Aragon fortified the town with walls and renovated its castle. The castle was left to decay in the 17th century, but has been restored later.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Santa Lucia del Mela, Italy

Pentefur Castle

The current remains of Pentefur Castle were built in the 11th century by King Roger II, but the site has been inhabitated from the 7th century AD. The castle was damaged by earthquakes of 1693 and 1783 and it was abandoned.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Savoca, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Petersberg Citadel

The Petersberg Citadel is one of the largest extant early-modern citadels in Europe and covers the whole north-western part of the Erfurt city centre. It was built after 1665 on Petersberg hill and was in military use until 1963. It dates from a time when Erfurt was ruled by the Electors of Mainz and is a unique example of the European style of fortress construction. Beneath the citadel is an underground maze of passageways that can be visited on guided tours organised by Erfurt Tourist Office.

The citadel was originally built on the site of a medieval Benedictine Monastery and the earliest parts of the complex date from the 12th century. Erfurt has also been ruled by Sweden, Prussia, Napoleon, the German Empire, the Nazis, and post-World War II Soviet occupying forces, and it was part of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). All of these regimes used Petersberg Citadel and had an influence on its development. The baroque fortress was in military use until 1963. Since German reunification in 1990, the citadel has undergone significant restoration and it is now open to the public as a historic site.