I’m pretty sure you love to find out new things in Italy, so I’m going to give you a nice little list to go through to find some of the best locations if you’re in the mood to go visit some castles in Italy. It’s true that the Middle Ages weren’t the greatest time for Italy, torn between the Papal States and the Imperial army. The first war between secular power and spiritual power saw its battleground in Italy, with cities being affiliated to the Guelfi (Papal States) or the Ghibellini (The Empire). This geopolitical tear brought about a fair amount of need for defense, and because of that many places in Italy now have castles.
It’s also true that some of the castles I’ll be adding into this list were later changed into noble palaces, thus stripping them of their militaristic valor, and bringing about some astonishing architectural masterpieces. As the Castle of Sammezzano in Reggello Tuscany, that is no doubt one of the best castles in Tuscany Italy, with rooms so diverse from one another that you’ll think you’ve ended up on a movie set (and you wouldn’t be wrong cause it’s often used for that). Other than that you really can’t find that many castles in Florence Italy as the only thing left would be the various fortezze, like Forte Belvedere and Fortezza da Basso, but they were built around the 1800s. So, they’re not castles, but they are, so I’ve got some castles in Tuscany for you.
If I’m correct the castles I put can only be visited, you can’t rent a castle in Italy. I mean you can’t but you can’t pick one from this list, meaning that I didn’t put in any castles for sale in Italy. But I’m sure if you’re looking on our main site you’ll be able to find some castle hotels in Italy, you know castles in Italy to stay in. But I did do some research where you can find some abandoned castles for sale in Italy.
Enough of the intro and let’s check out some pics of these beautiful castles in Italy.
Castello Sforzesco, Milano
Probably one of the most famous castles in Northern Italy, the Castello Sforzesco was built in the 15th century on the base of an old fortification, the Castle of Porta Giovia, that was at the door of the city. Now you can walk around the castle grounds for free, or enjoy some amazing art in the museums within.
Castello del Valentino, Torino
As I said before most of the castles here became residences, and the Castello del Valentino is the best-looking one. Once it was bought by the Savoia, it started its slow transformation and today it’s where you can find the Politecnico di Torino’s Architecture faculty.
Castel Sant’Angelo, Roma
The first “skyscraper” in Rome, Castel Sant’Angelo was built in 123 by Emperor Hadrian, and later on, became the castle of the Popes. You can visit it today as it’s a museum, lucky for you it’s not a prison anymore. Some notable inmates were Giordano Bruno and Benvenuto Cellini.
Castello Estense, Ferrara
After one of the first city riots that ended in a “Tear the Rich” situation (Crippling high taxes->riots->nobleman gave to the masses and literally tore to pieces) the noble house that ruled over Ferrara, the Este Family decided that they needed a safer place to be nobles in. That’s why if you go to Ferrara you’ll find a castle and a moat built in the city.
Castel Dell’Ovo, Napoli
If you’re looking for castles in Naples, you have to visit Castel dell’Ovo. It’s believed that this castle is set atop a Magical egg that Virgil, the Roman poet, left there and if the egg is to break so would the castle. It’s original foundation dates back to the 1st century BC by the Roman Patrician Lucius Licinius Lucullus.
Castello di Miramare, Grignano, Trieste
Not exactly a medieval castle, the Miramare is more of a residence, but you can’t pass on it if you’re in northern Italy. Today it’s a Museum, and you’ll be able to walk in the same halls as the Asburgo-Lorena family that held the Austro-Hungarian Empire until WWI.
Castel del Monte, Puglia
Not well known, but also one of the most important castles in Italy, as it’s even in the 1 cent euro coin. It was built in the 1240s by Frederick the II, and after some archeological research, some are led to believe that this wasn’t a castle, but rather a gatehouse to walls.
Castello di Fenis, Valle d’Aosta
If you’re really into castles you have to visit Valle d’Aosta as it holds most of the castles in the country. Being one of the main ways to enter Italy by land it was also very well defended, by Italians and the French. Start off with the Fenis Castle and go on from there.
Rocca Scaligera, Sirmione
Sirmione is one of the main thermal locations in northern Italy, and the city center is extremely well conserved. You’ll walk through the castle town surrounded by water and nature. You’ve got to visit this beauty.
Rocca Calascio, Abruzzo
Even though the Rocca Calascio is pretty run down now, you should still go visit it as it’s in the Gran Sasso National Park, so you can go on a nice nature trip, while enjoying some amazing history as well.
Castello di Venere, Erice, Sicily
When it comes to castles in Sicily, my favorite one is probably the Castello di Venere, built on the foundation of the Venus temple of Erice and was used up to the end of the Borbone era. It’s said that one of the walls was built by Daedalus himself, so yeah mythology and history…whaaaaaat?!?!