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Castles in Italy

Where to See Italian Castles

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Visiting castles in Italy and the medieval towns around them can be a rewarding part of Italy travel. Castles are evocative of Italy's past and have fantastic views of the town and surrounding countryside. Some Italian castles have museums inside and some have even been remodeled into hotels where you can spend the night.

Here's a sampling of Italian castles. Click on the photo to see it larger and click on the link above the photo for more information about the town and castle.

Want to stay in a castle? Check these Castle Hotels in Italy.

Castell'Arquato - La Rocca Viscontea

castell'arquato pictures, italy castle pictures, italy hill town pictures
Martha Bakerjian, Italy Travel

Castell'Arquato is a picturesque hill town in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy topped by its castle - Rocca Viscontea di Castell'Arquato. Inside the castle is a fortress museum with a video about the castle and four rooms about life in the middle ages. You can climb the stairs in the tower for fantastic views of the town spilling down the hill and the surrounding countryside. Although its small, this is one of my favorites and its not overrun with tourists. The town has been the setting for several movies.

Spoleto - La Rocca Albornoziana

spoleto picture, spoleto castle, castle courtyard pictures, italy travel pictures
James Martin, Europe Travel

La Rocca Albornoziana sits above the hill town of Spoleto in the southern Umbria region. From the castle there are great views of Spoleto, the Bridge of Towers over the gorge, and the surrounding valley. Rocca Albornoziana was built on the foundation of the Roman acropolis in the 14th century and served as the seat for local pontifical governors. It has two grand courtyards, six towers, and some beautiful frescoes. Visiting the castle is only possible on a tour, arranged at the ticket office at the entrance to the castle grounds. Check the schedule for the English tour times.

Spoleto Pictures

Portovenere - Andria Doria Castle

Portovenere picture, harbor, castle
James Martin, Europe Travel

Portovenere's Andria Doria Castle dominates the pretty Italian Riviera village of Portovenere. Built by the Genoese between the 12th and 17th centuries, the castle now houses a small art museum open in the summer from 11:00. Narrow medieval streets lead up to the castle where there are fine views of the sea and the picturesque San Pietro Church on the edge of the promontory.

Portovenere Pictures

Ferrara - Castello Estense di Ferrara

Ferrara Castle from Albergo Annuziata © 2010 by Martha Bakerjian

Ferrara, on the Po Delta in Emilia Romagna, is a walled Renaissance city with lots of great examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Its picturesque medieval castle, Castello Estense di Ferrara, dominates the old town. From the fromt rooms at Albergo Annunziata there are great views of the castle.

Milan - Castello Sforzesco

milan, castello sforzesco, picture
James Martin, Europe Travel
The northern Italian city of Milan has a castle that's not on a hill and in fact is right downtown, within walking distance of the duomo. Castello Sforzesco was built in the 15th century but has been renovated several times. The castle became a museum complex in the 19th century and still houses several museums today.

Milan Pictures

Soave - Walled Town and Castle

Martha Bakerjian
Soave is a small wine town enclosed by its medieval walls, topped by a castle and surrounded by vineyards producing the famous Soave wine. Soave is in northern Italy's Veneto region, near Verona.

Portofino - Castello Brown

portofino picture, castello brown, harbor
Martha Bakerjian, Italy Travel
Castello Brown, in the Italian Riviera village of Portofino, became the residence of Yeats Brown, British consul to Genoa, in 1870. Inside are furnishings and pictures belonging to the Browns as well as photos of many famous visitors to Portofino. There's a nice garden and good views of the sea and the village of Portofino. The castle, open from 10 - 7 in summer and 10-5 in winter, is reached by a pleasant footpath by the botanic gardens.

Portofino Pictures

Stura Valley - Forte di Vinadio

forte di vinadio pictures
James Martin, Europe Travel
Forte di Vinadio is in a picturesque setting in the beautiful Piedmont countryside of the Stura Valley, between Cuneo and France. The fort was built for King Carlo Alberto from 1834 - 1847 and was an important 19th century fortress. Forte di Vinadio is open mid-May through October. In summer it's open daily, 2:30 to 7:00 or 10:00 to 7:00 on Sunday. Other months, it's open on weekends only.

Pontremoli - Castello del Piagnaro

pontremoli, lunigiana castle, tuscany medieval town
James Martin, Europe Travel

Pontremoli is a well-preserved medieval town and principal town of northern Tuscany's Lunigiana region. Above the town is a restored castle, Castello del Piagnaro, with the Museum of Statue-Menhirs, a museum of prehistoric stele statues or sandstone sculptures that are important prehistoric artifacts. Piagnaro Castle gets its name from the slate slabs, piagne, common in the area. From the castle, there's a great view of the town and the surrounding hills. The museum and castle are open daily except in winter when it's closed on Mondays.

Lunigiana Map | Pontremoli Photo Gallery on Wandering Italy

Torrechiara and Castles of Parma

James Martin takes a look at Torrechiara Castle and other castles near Parma. Torrechiara is one of my favorites and there's a good restaurant right next to it. Inside the 15th century castle are some unusual frescoes. There's a tourist office at the castle, too, where you can get information about visiting the other castles in the area.

Torrechiara Pictures

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