Castles and fortifications in Italy

Stenico Castle

A seat of power built on a spur overlooking the roads of communication towards the Valli Giudicarie, Stenico Castle dates back to more than 2000 years. It was first built as a refuge for the Stoni - a proud Alpine population exterminated by the Romans - from which the town takes its name. The castle history is closely tied to the Prince-Bishops of Trento, who also used to administer justice. Legend has it that prisoners ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Stenico, Italy

Conegliano Castle

Starting from its foundation in the 11th century, Conegliano featured an innovative type of fortified settlement, common to several towns of the area, such as Bassano and Marostica. A fortified area on the top of the hill, with the below village which spreads along the Monticano river and at the feet of the main hill. The old Castle used to include a smaller walled area with several towers, also protected by moats. Withi ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Conegliano, Italy

Sarre Royal Castle

Sarre Royal Castle stands on a promontory in Lalex, which overlooks the Aosta flatland above the national road for Mont Blanc. It was built in 1710 on the ruins of a fortress mentioned in 1242. The property was purchased by the King of Italy Victor Emanuel II, who renovated it and used it during hunting expeditions in Val d’Aosta. The royal castle of Sarre, after becoming the private property of the King, was used as h ...
Founded: 13th century / 1710 | Location: Sarre, Italy

Aymavilles Castle

The castle of Aymavilles is certainly the most characteristic and recognizable element of the Aymavilles for its position and architecture characterized by the four cylindrical towers crowned by 'murder holes' that enclose a central body with a square base. The building, the origins of which date back to 12th century, was repeatedly reconfigured, changed its use from defensive to that of elegant lordly resi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aymavilles, Italy

Torre di Federico II

Torre di Federico is an octagonal ancient tower that was allegedly a summer residence of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. The two floors possess beautiful vaults. The aspect of the building is austere. It was part of a bigger complex, named Old castle and destroyed by Arabs. Remnants include some pieces of the old, imposing walls on the top of the green hill where the Tower rises. The tower is an imposing 26 metres hig ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Enna, Italy

Schisò Castle

Schisò Castle, which overlooks the bay of Giardini Naxos, was originally constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was rebuilt in the 16th century, with a military observation tower added which served to patrol Cape Schisò and the bay against raids by Barbary pirates who were led by the Turkish corsair Barbarossa Kheir-ed-Din to plunder the many small coastal fishing villages on the coast south of Port Schisò. Wit ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Giardini Naxos, Italy

San Nicola l'Arena Castle

San Nicola l"Arena Castle was built in the 13th century to protect the town agains pirates. Today it is a well preserved example of medieval castle with three watchtowers.
Founded: 12th century | Location: San Nicola l'Arena, Italy

Castle of the Counts of Modica

Castle of the Counts of Modica in Alcamo was mentioned for the first time in a diploma dated 1391.  The construction of the castle was started by the Peralta family at about 1340 and was finished in 1350, under the feudatories Enrico and Federico Chiaramonte; it was a mansion and a defensive structure until the 16th century. If equipped with munitions and food, it could resist for a month anda a half, quartering 30 compa ...
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Alcamo, Italy

Torre Cabrera

The Torre Cabrera was originally built in the 15th century, and was enlarged and rebuilt in the following centuries. Today, it is in good condition and it is open to the public as a museum. In the 15th century, the site of Pozzallo had natural springs known as 'Pozzofeto' and 'Senia', which were marked on nautical charts and were well known among sailors. When the Chiaramontes, Counts of Modica b ...
Founded: 1584 | Location: Pozzallo, Italy

Motta Sant'Anastasia Castle

The Tower of Motta Sant"Anastasia was built between 1070 and 1074 by the will of the Count Roger of Hauteville. The massive tower with a rectangular plan, with a base of about 21.5 by 9 by 17 metres, is about 21 metres high and is a typical defensive structure of the early Middle Ages. The roof terrace retains almost intact battlements. The structure consists of three elevations. Only the first of these is still the ...
Founded: 1070-1074 | Location: Motta Sant'Anastasia, Italy

Masegra Castle

The imposing Masegra Castle was built in the Middle Ages and strategically positioned at the opening of the Valmalenco valley so it could easily control the access to the valley. Since it was the property of the influential Salis family, it is the only castle in the town of Sondrio which wasn’t destroyed by the Grisons during their invasion of Valtellina in the 16th century. As time went by, the castle lost its orig ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Sondrio, Italy

Salemi Castle

The castle of Salemi is one of the best preserved castles in Sicily. Inside, the library and the resurgence museum are housed. The castle has Norman origins and dominates the town with its trapezoidal shape and square, 20 meters high, corner towers, and a cylindrical tower. The castle was built by Norman King Roger around 1077 to the site of Roman-Arab fort. Frederick II altered it in the 13th century. In 1441, on Decem ...
Founded: c. 1077 | Location: Salemi, Italy

Ameglia Castle

Ameglia Castle was mentioned from the 10th century among the castles belonging to the Bishopof Luni. Ameglia was an attractive site, as it was equipped with a court, a fish market and aport and was then supposed to have a great economic grouth. The castle was also mentioned in another document of 1174, in which it is written that the inhabitants of Pietracoperta – a territory destroyed by the Genoese - had lived in Ameg ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Ameglia, Italy

Castello Nelson

Admiral Horatio Nelson received the estate of nine million hectares together with the title of Duke of Bronte as a gift from the Bourbon King of the Two Sicilies after he helped the king to escape certain death during the revolution of Naples in 1796. Nelson himself never lived on the property but his descendants the Hood-Bridgeport’s took possession of the dukedom until the final heir sold it to the city of Bronte in 1 ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Maniace, Italy

Pedres Castle

Located at 89 meters in height, the Pedres castle was built between 1296 and 1322 during the Pisan-Aragonese domination period during the ascent of the Visconti family. It is characterized by two squares, one upper and one lower, surrounded by polygonal walls, reachable through stairs built with large granite boulders. Its position allowed to control the territory up to the Gulf of Olbia. In 1339 the castle was entruste ...
Founded: 1296-1322 | Location: Olbia, Italy

Hocheppan Castle

The Hocheppan Castle with its impressive donjon is located high above Missian, a district of Eppan on the wine route (officially Eppan an der Weinstraße). Until today, it ranks among the most important fortresses in Southern South Tyrol and has some surprises in store for art lovers, panorama fans and gourmets preferring proper meals. The castle in the environs of Eppan was built in 1130 and was, already at that time, o ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Eppan, Italy

Pagazzano Castle

The Castello Visconteo di Pagazzano is a moated, late-medieval castle which originates from the 11th century. It was burned down and 200 inhabitants were killed in a battle in 1353. The castle and the territory of Gera d’Adda, including Pagazzano, was inherited in 1354 by Bernabò Visconti. The territory was disputed over the centuries by surrounding ruling forces, and various Visconti descendants. In the 19th cent ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pagazzano, Italy

Catajo Castle

Castello del Catajo is a patrician house near the town of Battaglia Terme. It had its origins in a simple villa that was rebuilt and extravagantly enlarged in the manner of a feudal castle from 1570 onwards by Marquess Pio Enea I degli Obizzi, a member of an Italian noble family of French origin. The house contains a vast cycle of historical battle scenes frescoed in 1571–1572 by Giambattista Zelotti, a pupil of Paolo V ...
Founded: 1570-1573 | Location: Battaglia Terme, Italy

Carini Castle

Carini Castle was erected between the late 9th and early 12th century, certainly on a previous Arab construction, by the first Norman feudal lord Rodolfo Bonello, warrior in the retinue of Count Roger. The excavations carried out during the recent restoration, both in the east and in the north, they have surfaced walls of earlier times to the Norman. The castle has a large courtyard, where there is the residential struct ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Carini, Italy

Naro Castle

The Castello di Naro was built on top of a hill in the 14th century by the Chiaramonte family. The complex includes walls with battlements, a square tower built by Frederick II of Aragon and the imposing "mass of the male". On the east side there are two mullioned Gothic windows that illuminate the great "Hall of the Prince", which is located on the first floor of the tower. The portal is flanked by tw ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Naro, 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.