Italy is one of the most scintilla-tingly-beautiful destinations in all of Europe. There’s not a single thing missing from this fabulous country.
Fantastic food, enchanting landscapes, intriguing and complex history and mind-blowing art and architecture – all of these and more are part of Italy. Of all the beautiful aspects of this country, one is particularly beautiful – the castles of Italy. Here are several of the most beautiful, most awe-inspiring castles built in Italy.
One of the most renowned castles in Italy is the Castel Sant’Angelo. It is located in central Rome and was constructed by none other than Emperor Hadrian in 123 AD. The emperor built the castle as a giant mausoleum to house his remains but he didn’t spare the structure of beauty. The irony is that this mausoleum-castle was the only Roman building to survive through the centuries whilst being still in use. Artists such as Michelangelo stayed and worked there, which adds to the castle’s glamor and makes this castle one of Italy’s points of interest.
Castello di Sirmione
This castle has a prime location; it sits prettily on the beautiful Lake Garda, in the town of Sirmione. Also referred to as Castle Scaligero, Sirmione was constructed in the 13th century on the bones of a previous castle that had stood there since Roman times. The Roman castle Sirmione is one of Italy’s best-preserved castles, attracting visitors from all over the world. The castle is surrounded by lake water on all the sides, and the only way to get in or out is via the traditional drawbridge. The lake has actually been enclosed by the walls to form a moat, done so naturally in this castle that it is one of the best examples of lacustrine architecture.
Aragonese Castle, Ischia
This castle is located on a tiny volcanic island, which is connected to the island of Ischia by a 720-foot bridge. Built in the 5th century B.C., this castle protected its inhabitants from pirates for a long time. In the 15th century, Alfonso V of Aragon rebuilt and fortified the castle to face battle successfully. The castle is partly in ruins today and is one of the main Italy attractions that the beautiful island of Ischia offers us.
During the 8th-century, this fortress encompassed not just a castle, but an entire town. The castle walls would have surrounded the stone hamlet to protect the people who lived in it. The castle is an excellent example of a Middle-Ages construction. Get to the top of the castle for a fabulous view; you’ll understand why this castle was the chosen location for the movie ‘Lady Hawk’.
Belfort Castle, Trentino
Belfort Castle is the most romantic of all the castles you find in this region. Belfort Castle was built in the 14th century and the ruins that stand today are still grand. They speak of the original grandness of the castle, a marvel in the linear form of building. It’s an imposing and eye-catching structure even today, featuring an old embattled tower surrounded by outer walls. Belfort Castle was built by Henry, Count of Tyrol in 1311.
Odescalchi Castle, Bracciano
Two different papal families (families of the Pope) have lived in this 15th-century castle. Just a day away from Rome, this castle was lived in by the Borgia pope and by Pope Orsini. It’s free now for people to celebrate their weddings and other special occasions. In fact, the castle was recently decorated to within an inch of its structure to facilitate the premises for Petra Ecclestone’s $8 million wedding! How would you like to stay in a castle? Now you can!
Castle of Fenis, Valle d’Aosta
This castle is situated in a tiny village that is surrounded by the majestic snow-tipped Alps. It was built in the 13th century, and renovated or updated during the 14th and 15th-centuries. Inside the castle are the beautiful and delicate frescoes of St. George and the Dragon. There are many other items of decoration from the noble families that once inhabited this incredible castle. This castle is definitely one of the best places to visit in Italy.
Castello Saraceno, Taormina, Sicily
The town of Taormina in Sicily houses a lovely castle that was built in the 10th century by Muslim invaders. This castle is the crown jewel of Sicily’s many beautiful ancient ruins. In later times, this castle was used as a monastery. Entering the castle is prohibited today, but you can get wonderful views of it from outside. The best way to enjoy this castle would be to climb up the Castelmola Castle and look towards the Castello Saraceno.
The ancient island of Megaride is now a peninsula; on this stands the Castel dell’Ovo, with its mind-blowingly beautiful fortifications still standing upright in Southern Italy. The name dell’Ovo refers to an ancient historical episode where Virgil cages an egg (in Italian “ovo”) in the castle’s dungeons. The beautiful location makes this castle simply amazing to see.
Monteriggioni Castle was built on top of a low hill on which olive groves and vines flourished. The castle was built by the city of Siena, Tuscany to serve as a stronghold during the 13th century. Those were the years when the city was under attack by Florence. Later on the castle became part of Florence during the 16th century. The castle now stands as a lonely reminder of those days of battle in medieval times.
Fortezza di San Leo
The Fortezza di San Leo stands on top of a little vegetation-covered hill, and is a true testament to the renaissance marriage of art, architecture, and nature through mind-blowing decorations. The Fortezza served as a prison in the past but from the beginning of the 20th century, it has been respectfully retained as a historical monument. San Leo is located in the province of Rimini, and boasts of a Renaissance stronghold along with several other fabulous monuments, palaces and the local Duomo. Do visit this enhancing town during your Italy holidays. It’s well worth obtaining an Italy visitor visa just to tour these fantastic castles.
Italy, the land of wine, pasta, art and architecture has always been unforgettable. The castles and the other ancient ruins make this country’s history come alive for us. When you look at the ruins of the ancient and medieval castles, you’ll start wishing you could get just a tiny glimpse of the people used to lead then. Since that’s not possible, sit by the castles and the let the stones speak to you.