Castles and fortifications in Italy

Monzambano Castle

Monzambano Castle dates from the 11th century by Matilda Canossa. Later it was owned by the Scaligeri and Visconti families until lost its purpose in the 18th century.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Monzambano, Italy

Lodi Castle

From the 14th century Lodi was ruled by the Visconti family, who built a castle there. The castle was built between 1355-1370 and was enforced in the next century. Today only some parts of the castle remain.
Founded: 1355 | Location: Lodi, Italy

Milazzo Castle

The Castello di Milazzo is located on the summit of a hill overlooking the town, on a site first fortified in the Neolithic era. The castle was built as a result of the strategic importance of the Milazzo peninsula, which commands the Gulf of Patti, the body of water that separates Sicily from the Aeolian Islands. It also commands one of Sicily"s most important natural harbours. The Greeks modified it into an acropo ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Milazzo, Italy

Castelfranco Castle

The Castelfranco fort is situated on the Gottaro hill, the promontory dividing the Sciusa and Pora valleys, in a strategic location enabling the control of the coast from Caprazoppa to San Donato Cape. The building, dating back to the second half of the 14th century, underwent ups and downs: it was destroyed, reconstructed, enlarged and reduced in size again. Today it is star shaped, and stands very close to the centre of ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Finale Ligure, Italy

Avio Castle

The Castle of Avio (also known as Castle of Sabbionara) is one of the several castles commanding the Vallagarina valley of the Adige River. The castle is mentioned for the first time in a 1053 document as Castellum Ava. In the 12th century it was owned by the Castelbarco family, who ceded it to the Republic of Venice in 1411. The latter enlarged it and added a chapel dedicated to St. George, together with a façade showi ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Avio, Italy

Oldofredi Castle

The Oldofredi castle was one of three fortifications built to defend Montisola: the second was the fortress Oldofredi Martinengo in Sensole and the third was in Siviano. Like the Sensole castle, with which it is often confused in many sources, the Peschiera castle was also owned by the Oldofredi family. A tower may be used by Frederick Barbarossa in 1162 as a military observation point. The first document attesting the pr ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Iseo, Italy

Forza d'Agrò Castle

Forza d"Agrò Castle was built in 11th century to the 420m high hill. Since 1876 it has been surrounded by a graveyard.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Forza d'Agrò, Italy

CastelBrando

CastelBrando, former Castrum Costae, is a medieval castle situated on a dolomite limestone rock overlooking the villages of Cison di Valmarino and Valmareno. The name CastelBrando is due to the name Brandolini, the ancient family from Forlì, who were the Lords of the castle. CastelBrando was originally built in the Roman age as a defensive fortress in order to protect the important lines of communication which connected ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Cison di Valmarino, Italy

Juval Castle

Juval Castle (Italian Castel Juval) is located at the entrance of the Schnalstal valley. It derives its name from the Latin name of the mountain, Mons Jovis (mountain of Jupiter). The oldest account of the castle dates to 1278, when it was owned by Hugo of Montalban. It was probably constructed about thirty years before the first account referencing it. In 1368, it was acquired by the lords of Starkenberg, and in 1540, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Castelbello-Ciardes, Italy

Adrano Norman Castle

Castle of Norman origin (Castello Normanno) is located in the centre of Adrano, built in 1070 on behalf of Norman king Roger I. They probably built the keep on the ruins of a pre-existing Muslim fortress at this site. Its purpose was to ensure control over a large portion of the surrounding Etna area. Inside the castle is the archaeological museum with antique findings of the region.
Founded: 1070 | Location: Adrano, Italy

Reggio Calabria Castle

Reggio Calabria Castle was originally built before 540 AD and enlarged by the Normans and later by the Aragonese in 1459. Throughout the centuries it has been restored and enlarged by its conquerors. The building began to decay in the very early 19th century. Various collapses and demolitions had dotted its history until the recent and radical restoration that brought it back to its original splendor. Today it is the sea ...
Founded: 540 AD | Location: Reggio Calabria, Italy

Sarzanello Fortress

In 963 A.D., Emperor Otto I granted to Adalberto Bishop of Luni ownership of the castrum Sarzanae, a fortified village where today the fortress of Sarzanello is located. It was developed around a village of which only a few houses remain near the fort, while the remaining part was destroyed during the Austrian war of succession. In 1494, when the castle was given to Charles VIII, it had already started taking on its curr ...
Founded: 1494 | Location: Sarzana, Italy

Cefalù Castle

Cefalù Castle lies on the mountain above the town of the same name. The top of Cefalù Rock was already inhabited in ancient times as the remains of a temple with megalithic stonework attests. Under Byzantine rule the settlement on the mountain developed into a real town, with the consequent partial depopulation of the town center below. In the years 837-838 Cefalù withstood a first attack of the Muslims. After a new si ...
Founded: c. 1063 | Location: Cefalù, Italy

Cuba Palace

The Cuba Palace in Palermo was built in 1180 by William II of Sicily in his great Royal Park, as his personal recreation pavilion, together with an artificial lake: it shows strong Fatimid art influences, as it was (at least partially) designed and decorated by Arab artists still living in Palermo after the Norman conquest in 1072. During the rule of Bourbon kings of Naples it was annexed to a barracks. In the 16th centur ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Palermo, Italy

Malpaga Castle

An early medieval castle in Malpaga had been in ruins after a raid in the 1440s. In 1456, the condottiero and nobleman Bartolomeo Colleoni acquired the ruined castle from the commune of Bergamo. He enlarged and enriched it not only as a military base for his troops, but also as a seigneurial residence, in the typical Italian Renaissance fashion. The castle layout is square, surrounded by two lines of walls and a ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Malpaga, Italy

Forte San Giovanni

Forte San Giovanni was built between 1640 and 1644 just above the point where the valleys of rivers Pora and Aquila meet with the aim of strengthening defenses. The fort was adapted to the geographic topography and enclosed the ancient medieval tower linking the Finalborgo walls on Becchignolo hill. The work was directed by Ferdinando Glazer. This tower was recorded by the historian Filelfo and portrayed in a drawing of 1 ...
Founded: 1640-1644 | Location: Finale Ligure, Italy

Villimpenta Castle

Villimpenta Castle was built in the 11th century asa fortified monastery. It was restored and strenghtened in the 14th century by Scaligeri family. Today towers and curtain walls exist.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Villimpenta, Italy

Montalbano Elicona Castle

The Montalbano Elicona Castle is considered as one of the most beautiful monuments in Sicily. It was built in the 12th century by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II on pre-existing byzantine and Arab walls. The intent of Frederick II was to provide Sicily a series of strong defensive buildings around the island. The well preserved extensive walls of the castle are easily seen throughout the town. From on top of the Vall ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Montalbano Elicona, Italy

Lierna Castle

Lierna Castle is built on a peninsula that protrudes into the lake Como and consists of a group of connected buildings, rather than a single building. The main portion of the current buildings was constructed in the 10th century in Romanesque style upon former Roman ruins. The castle includes the 11th-century church of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Chiesa dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro), associated with the Order of Saints Ma ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Lierna, Italy

Brucoli Castle

The Aragonese Castello di Brucoli was built in the 15th century as a watch tower to guard the coast and monitor and protect against Turkish-Barbarian raids. It underwent several additions and alterations in the following centuries, e.g walls with circular towers at the corners were added in the 16th century. The Castle of Brucoli dominates much of the Gulf of Catania and was therefore used as a watch and guard post in th ...
Founded: 1468 | Location: Brucoli, 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.