10 Most Beautiful Castles in Italy: Castell’Arquato, Castelmola, Fenis Castle & More

July 20, 2023

Not all ruins and churches, Italy has some of the most beautiful castles in Europe! Here’s our list, in photos, of the 10 prettiest castles in Italy.

San Nicola di Tremiti, Tremiti Islands

This sun-soaked clifftop castle is located on the island of San Nicola di Tremiti, in the Adriatic Sea. To get here, grab a boat from Puglia, Molise, Abruzzo, or Le Marche.

Castle in Puglia, southern Italy

Castle on one of Puglia’s Tremiti islands

Aragonese Castle, Ischia

One of the finest castles in Italia

Castello Aragonese, near Ischia

Located on a tiny volcanic island connected to the island of Ischia by a 720-foot bridge, the Castello Aragonese dates back to the 5th century B.C. To protect inhabitants from pirates, Alfonso V of Aragon fortified the castle in the 15th century. Today, visiting the castle is one of Ischia’s main attractions.

Castell’Arquato, Emilia-Romagna

This 8th-century fortress isn’t just a castle, but a town—just as it would have been 1,000 years ago, when castle walls surrounded the hamlet to protect it from invaders. Walking around Castell’Arquato today, you feel as if you’ve wound up right back in the Middle Ages!

One of the prettiest castles in Italy

Castell’Arquato, one of the beautiful castles of Emilia-Romagna

 Scaligero Castle, Lake Garda

Scaligero Castle, at Lake Garda. Photo by Elliott Brown

Scaligero Castle, at Lake Garda. Photo by Elliott Brown

Located in the town of Sirmione on Lake Garda, the Castello Scaligero gets its name from the rulers of Verona, whose power extended all the way to here in the 13th and 14th centuries. It’s not just modern-day visitors who find the castle beautiful—in 1786, Goethe was arrested for making suspicious-seeming sketches of the castle!

Belfort Castle, Trentino

A gorgeous castle in Trentino, Italy

Belfort Castle in Trentino

Castles are thick on the ground in the region around Trento, but Belfort Castle may be one of the most romantic. Built in the 14th century, and possibly earlier, today, all that’s left of the grand fortress is ruins.

Rocca Maggiore, Assisi

Dating back to the 12th century (and rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries), the Rocca Maggiore towers from the hill of Assisi. It’s ruined today, but from up here, there’s a beautiful view of the city itself and the Umbrian valleys beyond.

Odescalchi Castle, Bracciano

Not far from Rome is one of the best castles in Italy

The Odescalchi castle of Bracciano

This 15th-century castle, an easy day trip from Rome, has been the residence of two different papal families (the Borgias and Orsini). More recently, it’s played host to some big-time weddings, including Petra Ecclestone’s $8 million wedding this summer!

Castel dell’Ovo, Naples

Napoli, Italy's Egg Castle, one of the prettiest in Italy

Castel dell’Ovo in Naples

The name of this castle, “Egg Castle,” comes from a legend that Virgil put a magical egg into the castle’s foundations to support it. That’s not too likely, but what we do know is that the castle you see here was built by the Normans back in the 12th century, and later served as the seat of the Royal Chamber and of the State Treasury of Naples. It’s actually one of three different castles in Naples, so make sure you see them all!

Fenis Castle, Valle d’Aosta

One of the prettiest castles in Italy in the Valle d'Aosta

Castle of Fénis in the Valle d’Aosta

Located in a tiny village surrounded by the Alps, Fenis Castle dates back to the 13th century, although it’s its 14th and 15th-century construction that you see today. Inside of this stunning castle, you can find frescoes of St. George slaying the dragon and other decorations from the noble family that lived here.

Castello Saraceno, Taormina, Sicily

Castello Saraceno, one of the prettiest castles in Italy

Castello Saraceno, or Taormina Castle, Sicily

Along with beautiful ancient ruins, Sicily’s town of Taormina has a castle built by Muslim invaders in the 10th century; in later times, it was used as a monastery. You can’t enter the castle today, but you can get beautiful views of it—including from a second castle above this one, Castelmola Castle!

by Walks of Italy

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