Originally built in the 11th century, when the Normans fought the Byzantine rulers in Southern Italy, the Corigliano Calabro Castle expanded in the first half of the 1300s thanks to the powerful Sanseverino family. In the 15th century, the castle was renovated and its architecture took on the typical features of the Aragonese style; the structure was further altered in the 17th century by the Saluzzo family, and in the 19th century by the Compagna family.
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.