Castello Aragonese (Aragonese Castle) – Le Castella, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Castello Aragonese (Aragonese Castle)

Le Castella, Italy

This scenic fortress dates back at least 2,400 years to the time of Magna Graecia. 


The area around the coast of Calabria, near the town of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, is part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto, the largest of its kind in Italy. On a small peninsula along this coast, this beautiful castle cannot be missed.

Known now as Castello Aragonese, the structure dates back to the Greek colonization of Southern Italy, an area then called Magna Graecia. The Greeks built a fortress on the peninsula around the 5th-century BC that was later used by the Romans. At one point, the fortress was a refuge for Carthaginian general Hannibal as he and his forces retreated during the Second Punic War against Rome.

After the fall of Rome, many different kingdoms, empires, and people ruled over the area, such as the Normans, Byzantines, and Angevins, each using and expanding the fortress over the centuries. The castle was inhabited during the Middle Ages, but was abandoned during the 9th-century after a raid by Arab forces.

The area was also the site of an important battle of the War of the Sicilian Vespers in 1297. During this time, the tower was built by the Angevins who ruled the Kingdom of Naples. It was later restored by the Aragonese during the early 16th-century. 

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