Visiting the most beautiful castles in Italy will brighten your visit to a country famed for its long history. Italy shows a great respect for the architectural wonders left from its glorious past. You’ll often find antique remains in between 2 modern buildings, even in small towns throughout the country.

    From Sirmione Castle on the banks of Lake Garda to Castel Sant’Angelo in the centre of Rome, the country has an impressive number of historical edifices. Join us for a virtual tour of the must-see Italian castles and palaces to get a taste of what’s available.


    Sforzesco Castle, Milan

    A 9-museum complex in the centre of Milan

    Nicknamed Sforza Castle, Sforzesco Castle is a 15th-century citadel that sits in the centre of Milan. Adjacent to Sempione Park, the Renaissance castle is home to 9 museums dedicated to topics including ancient art, musical instruments, Egyptian antiques, applied arts, and more. The highlights of the museums are Michelangelo’s last sculpture and Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Trivulzianus manuscript. The central location of the citadel places it a stroll away of many dining options.

    Location: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milan, Italy

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Mondays)


    Aragonese Castle, Ischia

    A stunning medieval castle in the Gulf of Naples

    Aragonese Castle overlooks the Gulf of Naples from the top of a volcanic rocky islet linked to Ischia Island. Dating back to 474BC, the castle went through a tumultuous history before being sold to a private owner in 1912. Frescoes adorn the walls of ancient churches and crypts, and there's also a torture museum, the former nunnery and abbey, as well as beautiful gardens. There’s a lift to get to the top and a restaurant that offers stunning views of the bay.

    Location: Via Pontile Aragonese, 80070 Ischia, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 9 pm


    Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome

    Visit Hadrian’s tomb a short distance from Vatican City

    Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built during the 2nd century as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family. Converted into a military fortress, it owes its name to a legend stating that Archangel Michael came into sight at the top of the castle to stop the plague that was ravaging Rome in AD509. Settled on the west bank of the River Tiber, it’s now a museum in which you can retrace the whole history of this fascinating building. Get to the roof to see stunning views of Rome and of the nearby Vatican.

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    Location: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Rome, Italy

    Open: Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 7.30 pm (closed on Mondays)


    Castel dell’Ovo, Naples

    The oldest standing fortification in Naples

    Built by the Normans on the ruins of a Roman fortress during the 12th century, Castel dell’Ovo (Egg Castle) is the oldest standing fortification in Naples. Settled on a former island 100 metres to the south of Naples Old Town, the castle is reachable along a jetty. It features a marina and plenty of restaurants at its foot. From the top, you get stunning views of the bay and of Mount Vesuvius. Access is free.

    Location: Via Eldorado, 3, 80132 Naples, Italy

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 9 am to 6.30 pm, Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm


    La Scarzuola, Umbria

    An ‘ideal city’ that blends history and surrealism

    Built on the site of a former Franciscan convent founded in the early-13th century, La Scarzuola is an ‘ideal city’ planned and erected by Tomaso Buzzi, an architect who bought the domain in 1956. It contains 7 theatres, an Acropolis, multiple grottos, and reproductions of famous buildings (the Arc de Triomphe and the Parthenon, among others). Although it’s not technically a castle, La Scarzuola is worth the visit as it takes you on a journey that blends history and fantasy. Visits are organised on appointments.

    Location: Località Montegiove, 05010 Montegabbione, Italy

    Phone: +39 0763 837463


    The 3 Towers of San Marino

    Get a stunning view of the 3rd smallest country in Europe

    Named Guaita, Cesta and Montale, the 3 towers of San Marino overlook the capital city of this microstate enclaved in the northeast of Italy, near Rimini. Each tower sits at the top of a peak of Monte Titano. Built during the 11th century, Guaita is the oldest of the 3 towers, Cesta dates back to the 13th century, and Montale to the 14th century. The first 2 towers can be visited for a modest fee. They both offer breathtaking views, and Cesta hosts a very interesting weapons museum.

    Location: 47890 Città di San Marino, San Marino

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm


    Sirmione Castle, Lake Garda

    Take a stroll back to the Middle Ages

    Also known as Scaligero Castle, Sirmione Castle was erected by the powerful Scaliger family, which took over the region in the early-13th century. Built in 1277 on the banks of the Lake Garda, Sirmione Castle is a stunning piece of medieval architecture, emphasised by its superb surroundings. With drawbridges, moat, towers, wall-walk and crenulations, the castle features all the classic elements of a middle ages fortress. Get ready for climbing quite a few steps, but the views of the lake and Sirmione from the largest tower are worth the effort.

    Location: Piazza Castello, 34, 25019 Sirmione, Italy

    Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 8.30 am to 6.45 pm, Sunday from 9.15 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)


    Castel del Monte, Andria

    An out-of-the-ordinary small castle

    Obsessed by the number 8, the Emperor Frederick II built this small, peculiar fortress in the mid-13th century. It features an octagonal shape flanked by 8 octagonal towers, each of them housing 8 rooms. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the views from the top of the towers are splendid. A shuttle is available to get to the castle from the car park, or you can walk up there in about 10 minutes. A restaurant is available near the car park.

    Location: Strada Statale 170, 76123 Località Castel Del Monte, Andria, Italy

    Open: Daily from 10.15 am to 7.45 pm


    Fénis Castle, Valle d’Aosta

    One of the most impressive castles in the Aosta Valley

    Originally built between the 13th and 15th centuries, Fénis Castle is a massive medieval fortress in the Aosta Valley, 20 km south of the border with Switzerland. Converted into a museum, it’s home to weaponry, kitchen utensils, a chapel with frescoes, and many other medieval items. You’ll learn a lot about this period of history by visiting this well-preserved edifice, thanks to the multilingual guide books at hand (guided tours are only in Italian). There are 2 restaurants near the car park, at the entrance of the castle.

    Location: Frazione, Località Chez Sapin, 1, 11020 Fénis, Italy

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 7 pm


    Visconti Castle, Castell’Arquato

    Visit a historical village and sample first-class wines

    Visconti Castle sits in the centre of Castell’Arquato, a medieval village in the north of Italy. Featuring narrow, cobblestoned streets framed by rocky walls, a walk through this quaint 8th-century village will take you back in time. Besides the castle, the church of Saint-Mary and the Torrione Farnese (bell tower) are also worth a visit. Another asset of the village is that it’s located near the Piacenza Hills, a region famous for its excellent wines. It’s a great place to sample locally produced Gutturnio and Monterosso Val d’Arda wines.

    Location: 29014 Castell'Arquato, Province of Piacenza, Italy

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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