The castles in Italy are abundant in number, and this has a lot to do with the country's rich history. For centuries on end, Italy was not one unified nation. Instead, it was a mix of territories, kingdoms, and virtually everything else that you can imagine. The struggle for power led to many skirmishes, not to mention full-scale wars, and castles were built to help defend specific regions. Over time, some fell into disrepair, while others remained in the hands of powerful families and were well maintained. The government and various foundations have made moves to preserve many of the castles across the country, and should you be planning an Italy vacation, perhaps a castle stay will suit your fancy.
The castles in Italy aren't just found in one region. Instead, they are spread out across the nation. That being said, Northern Italy might be the best region to head to if you want to see some of the best castles in the country. Modern day Northern Italy shares borders with four different countries, Switzerland and Austria among them, and the borders haven't always been set where they now are. In other words, there have been plenty of conflicts in this part of Europe. Castles were built in good number, mainly around the medieval era, and they include Fenis Castle.
One of the most famous medieval castles in Italy, Fenis Castle is known for its excellent architecture. As is true of many other Italian castles, it has been converted into a museum and has many fantastic exhibits for visitors to enjoy. A major tourist attraction, Fenis Castle is located near the borders of Switzerland and France in the Aosta Valley region.
Other castles in Northern Italy that get a lot of attention include Verres Castle and Museo Castelvecchio. Work on both started in the fourteenth century, and it's easy to understand why they survived so long when you consider their sturdy constructions. Verres Castle calls the town of Challand-Saint-Anselme home, while Museo Castelvecchio is found in Verona. As its name would imply, Museo Castelvecchio is one of the many castle museums in Italy, and among the treasures that are on display are sculptures, paintings, and goldworks. As for Verres Castle, you can get a true taste of opulence in the interior rooms, and the grandeur of the structure itself is impressive.
Not all of the best castles in Italy are found in the northern region, as is evidenced by Castel Sant'Angelo and Castel dell'Ovo. Castel Sant'Angelo can be found on the Tiber River in Rome and offers some wonderful museum exhibits that relate to its rich history. Originally constructed in the second century as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, it was converted into a fortress in the Middle Ages, became a fort in subsequent years, and even did a stint as a prison, as is typical of castles in Europe.
Castel dell'Ovo calls the Sicilian city of Naples home, and it has long been a major landmark. An imposing fortress, this castle sits on the Bay of Naples, and a more strategic location you could hardly imagine. In fact, a Roman villa formerly sat on the site, though it was fortified and eventually transformed by Frederik II. Various renovation projects were carried out over the following years, and much like other castles in Europe, it was a royal residence for some time. On a visit to Castel dell'Ovo, you can explore parts of the castle, and depending on the day, you might also be able to visit the onsite Museum of Ethno-Prehistory. This museum only opens for special exhibits.
Due to the shear number of castles in Italy, you could spend a considerable amount of time in the country and still not get around to all of the ones that are worth visiting. This just means that you'll have to come back one day and visit some that you missed. If you are really serious about enjoying a castle vacation in Italy, then you might consider the castle hotels options. When looking for an Italian castle to rent, you will find that there are some very enticing options. Some of the country's castles have been completely restored and serve as vacation rentals, and you can also hope to secure a rental cottage or apartment on castle grounds. At the Castello Ripa d'Orcia in Tuscany, for example, vacation apartments are available.