10 of the Most Beautiful Castles in Italy

November 07, 2011

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.

Fortress of San Nicola, Tremiti Islands

Castle in Puglia, southern Italy

Castle on one of Puglia’s 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 can be taken from Puglia, Molise, Abruzzo or Le Marche.

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

One of the prettiest castles in Italy

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!

 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

Fortification of Assisi, Umbria

Castle overlooking Assisi, Umbria

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!

Castle of Fenis, 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, the castle of Fenis dates back to the 13th century, although it’s its 14th and 15th-century construction that you see today. Inside, you can see 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!

You might also like:

The 10 Top Towns of Tuscany

How to “Read” Venice’s Palaces

Ten Top Photo Ops: Where to Find the Best Views of Italy

 

by Walks of Italy

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Show Comments

34 responses to “10 of the Most Beautiful Castles in Italy”

  1. Alex says:

    Excellent article!

    Italy has lots of castles, but many are relatively unknown.

    Please do a follow up to this post!

    All the best from Milan,

    Alex

  2. LJ says:

    Got a chance to see the “castle” in Conversano where the Lipizzaner stallions originated. It was fascinating.

  3. Andrew says:

    What beautiful pictures. What is the background of the one in Sicily? Is that sea or sky? It is SO blue, almost looks artificial.

  4. Check the “Rocca di Sassocorvaro”, from my hometown!

  5. DUSAN says:

    ITALIA è UN GRANDE MUSEO,QUESTI CASTELLI SONO UNA PICOLA TESTIMONIANZA DI GRANDE FASCINO E DI BELLEZZA CULTURALE E ARTISTICA

  6. We plan weddings at the 11th Century Castle in Castellabate, & also the 15th Century Torre Perrotti in Santa Maria – they are truly stunning!! 🙂

  7. Mariano says:

    In your future article 15 OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CASTLE IN ITALY, consider CASTELLO DI GRADARA in Le Marche Region

    Thanks

  8. Ali says:

    I love this! I really love seeing castles when I travel, and since Italy is one of my favorite countries in the world, I’d love to see all of these. Great photos!

  9. eur says:

    Wow, the San Nicola fortress is very impressive!

  10. I’ve been to the castles on Ischia and in Naples but so much more to see! Great post – thanks!

  11. Cindy LaSalle says:

    Does anyone live in any of these Castles?

    • walksofitaly says:

      Hi Cindy,
      People live in Castell’Arquato (and in fact, you can stay in a hotel there!), but not the other ones, as far as we know 🙂 Would be fun, though, wouldn’t it?

      Thanks for your comment!

  12. Annabella says:

    Hello,
    I am Italian and I must admit that I love my Country and its variety of Castles. In my family is quite common to rent ancient venues for wedding parties…. I think Castles are the most romantic venue a woman could ever immagine for her wedding! Look at these views!!

  13. Katia says:

    It’s missing one of the most enchanting castles in the Chianti region: Castello di Meleto!!

  14. very beautiful pictures , definitely worth visiting castles, Italy is a country that must be visited

  15. Lauren says:

    This makes me miss Europe so much.

  16. marc says:

    Simply love the article and all the images. I love Aragonese Castle, Ischia

  17. Italians for its symbolic value like very Castel del Monte in Puglia. Every time I accompanied people in this castle, I noticed that their heart was touched. The architecture is very special and there are esoteric aspects.The castle was built by Frederick II. If you do not visit you do not understand. It ‘a place that creates emotions.

  18. Zeljka says:

    Hey. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that Castle on the Lake Garda in Malcesine, not in Sirmione?

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