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 acropolis, and it was later enlarged into a castrum by the Romans and Byzantines.
In around 843, the Arabs began to build a castle on the ruins of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine fortifications. The castle's keep possibly dates back to this era. The castle was enlarged by the Normans and Swabians. It was extensively modified during the reign of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.
Between 1496 and 1508, the Aragonese built walls with six semi-circular bastions, encircling the original medieval castle. Between 1525 and 1540, the Spanish built bastioned fortifications around the Aragonese walls and the settlement which surrounded it, expanding the castle into a citadel. The new fortifications were designed by the military engineers Pietro Antonio Tomasello and Antonio Ferramolino. Some outworks were added in the 17th century. Several civil buildings began to be built within the walls of the castle, including the old cathedral and various palaces.
The castle was in Habsburg hands in the first half of the 18th century, before being taken over by the Bourbons. The latter retained the castle until they lost Milazzo to Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. The castle was subsequently converted into a prison in 1880, and underwent a number of alterations. The prison closed in 1959 and the castle remained abandoned for a couple of decades.
It is now in good condition, and open to the public.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.