One of the most appealing qualities of Italian architecture are its castles and fortresses, that come in various styles and flavors, which the public are welcomed to visit for the unique architecture and gorgeous scenery.
Castle-like fortresses consist of thick walls and towers. They can be found in historical centres or very suggestive villages where princesses, knights, and battles are remembered. I have compiled a list of a few of the most fascinating ones here.
Monteriggioni fortress, Tuscany
Thanks to its stature and majesty, the Monteriggioni fortress, in the Siena Province, is a tourist’s destination of choice. Nearly 70,000 visitors annually take in the well-known Tuscan castle, which makes itself visible in all of its majesty.
It is not a coincidence that one of the most prestigious visitors to come to the area and come from Florence, he was so impressed by the site that he had written a dedication in his most famous work to it. We’re talking about Dante, who was inspired by Monteriggioni for the giant structures in the abyss of Malebolge in Dante’s Inferno.
Rocca Calascio, Abruzzo
Within the boundaries of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, at 1460 meters, sits the Rocca di Calascio, one of Italy’s highest buildings. Sitting in the mountains, it overlooks the ancient village below, now uninhabited. Its charm is indisputable and has made it a perfect setting for several movies, including Ladyhawke and The Name of the Rose, but also the latest The American starring George Clooney.
Aragonese Castle, Ischia island, Amalfi coast
The tower stands on its own island and is connected by means of a brick bridge to the nearby, ancient Borgo di Celsa. The accessibility of the castle has been facilitated in part thanks to Alfonso V of Aragon who oversaw the building of a tunnel that provides access. But, prior to this time it could only be accessed by boat, this will change after the completion of a 400 meter long tunnel illuminated by high skylights which served at the time as a seal from which boiling oil, stones and other items were thrown at any enemies that neared. At this castle, in 1952, some scenes from The Crimson Pirate were filmed with Burt Lancaster.
Scaliger Castle, Garda Lake
It is one of the best-preserved and most complete castles in Italy. This castle, which is found in Sirmione, is a rare example of a lake-fortified structure. All sides of the castle are engulfed in Lake Garda’s waters. On one side of the castle there is the pier and on the other, the imposing keep with the cells reserved for prisoners. It has curving ramparts that meet at corner towers. Visitors are able to walk along the battlements and climb to the top of the towers. They are also able to enjoy the beauty of the deep-water port. The tragic legend of Ebeengardo states that his spirit will roam the castle’s chambers during a stormy night, searching for his lover Arice.