Castles and fortifications in 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

Pietra Ligure Castle

The ancient name of Pietra Ligure was La Pietra , and referred to the imposing calcareous rock that is found to the east of the historical center, above which the Roman castrum was built. The castle, enlarged in the period of the barbarian and Saracen invasions (6th-9th century), was a bishop ‘s property and reached its present size in the 16th century. It is believed that this natural barrier, easily defensible, consti ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pietra Ligure, Italy

Fort of Exilles

The Exilles Fort (Forte di Exilles) is a fortified complex in the Susa Valley. Together with the nearby Fort of Fenestrelle and the Forte Albertino it was part of the defensive line between the House of Savoy lands and France: both these states held it in different phases depending on the outcome of the various wars. It is located on a spur commanding one of the narrowest sections of the Susa Valley, along the main road c ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Susa, Italy

Tyrol Castle

Tyrol Castle was the ancestral seat of the Counts of Tyrol and gave the whole Tyrol region its name. The castle hill has been inhabited since ancient times. Several artefacts and one field of graves from the early Middle Ages have been identified. Archeologists have excavated a church with three apses dating from the early Christian period. The first castle was built before 1100. The second construction phase including ...
Founded: c. 1100 | Location: Tirolo, Italy

Maretsch Castle

Maretsch Castle (Castel Mareccio) is a picturesque 13th century castle surrounded by vineyards. The oldest tower of the castle has been built in 1194 by Berthold von Maretsch - according to documents he was a commissary of the Lords of Tyrol and lawyer in Bolzano. In the beginning there was only the massive donjon, which can still be seen today. In the 13th and 14th century different owners kept amplifying the castle com ...
Founded: 1194 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Runkelstein Castle

Runkelstein Castle (Castel Roncolo) is a medieval fortification on a rocky spur near Bolzano. In 1237 Alderich Prince-Bishop of Trent gave the brothers Friedrich and Beral Lords of Wangen permission to construct a castle on the rock then called Runchenstayn. In 1274 it was damaged during a siege by Meinhard II of Tirol, who after winning the war against Heinrich Prince-Bishop of Trent, entrusted the castle to Gottschalk ...
Founded: 1237 | Location: Bolzano, Italy

Pavone Castle

Pavone Castle was originally built between the 9th and the 11th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, the castle went to the Romano family and, several years later, Oberto, the new bishop of Ivrea, got it back. In the 14th century, its first and major reconstruction took place. In the 15th century, the castle was abandoned, but, at the end of the century, Bishop Bonifacio Ferrero gave the go-ahead for new reconst ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pavone Canavese, Italy

Issogne Castle

Issogne Castle is one of the most famous manors of the region, and is located on the right bank of the Dora Baltea. As a seigniorial residence of the Renaissance, the Castle has quite a different look from that of the austere Verrès Castle, which is located in Verrès, on the opposite bank of the river. Issogne Castle is most noteworthy for its fountain in the form of pomegranate tree and its highly decorated portico ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Issogne, Italy

Torre dello Ziro

Torre dello Ziro tower was built in 1480 by the Duke of Amalfi, Antonio Piccolomini, during a time of plaguing attacks by the Saracens. Constructed along with a fortress to provide protection and advance warning, the round stone lookout enjoys splendid views of the Gulf of Salerno and the villages scattered around the hills and on the seafront. It is said that the Duchess of Amalfi, Giovanni d"Aragon, was locked ...
Founded: 1480 | Location: Amalfi, Italy

Taufers Castle

Taufers Castle (Castel Tures) perfectly fits the scenery in which it is located, as the high mountains of the valley serve as background. In succession of “Castel Tobel” in 1100 AD, Taufers has been mentioned for the first time in 1225. In the first half of the 14th century the Lords of Taufers were in possession of the castle, but when the last member of the family died in 1349 the castle continually deteriorated. Th ...
Founded: 1225 | Location: Campo Tures, Italy

Acqui Terme Castle

The Palaeologi Castle in Acqui Terme was mentioned for the first time in 1056. It was rebuilt in the 15th century by Marquis William VII of Montferrat. Acqui Terme’s Archaeological Museum is housed inside the castle. The exhibition is divided into three sections (dedicated respectively to prehistory: from Palaeolithic to Neolithic, to the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the Roman period and finally the Middle Ages), with a to ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Acqui Terme, Italy

Trezzo sull'Adda Castle

The Castle of Trezzo sull"Adda is located on a hill within a bend of the Adda river and from this protected on two sides. On the remaining side it is closed by a wall and a 42-meter high tower. Part of the castle was the fortified bridge over the river, destroyed in 1416. The site was inhabited since prehistoric time by Celtic populations and after the VII century hosted a Longobard settlement, which was als ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Trezzo sull'Adda, Italy

Ossana Castle

St. Michael castle in Ossana stands on a rocky outcrop. The first written record dates back to 1191. The castle was owned by the Prince Bishops of Trento, Counts of Tyrol-Gorizia, de Federici, Heydorf and Bertelli families. Today is well-preserved with an imposing tower about 25 meters high.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Ossana, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.

Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.

The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.