The Aragonese Castle, also known as Castel Sant'Angelo, is the main fortification in Taranto and marks the boundary between the old and the new part of the town.
The fortress was designed in the late 15th century by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, upon request of the Aragon King Ferdinand I of Naples, who wanted it for defensive purposes.
Placed on the seashore to guard the city's navigable canal, it was built over an earlier Norman structure, which was itself based on a stronghold that the Byzantines had constructed to protect themselves against the Saracens.
Of particular interest are the wide, short towers that emphasize the structure's defensive function. The Castle was used as a prison by the Habsburgs and today houses an Italian Navy base. It is often opened to guided tours and used to stage exhibitions and events.
Construction, commissioned by Ferdinand I of Naples, was completed in 1492, as described on the engraved plaque hanging over Porta Paterna, the main entrance.
The Castle was once again renovated by the Spanish in the 16th century, before the Habsburgs turned it into a prison in the 17th century.
The Castle was built to a quadrangular plan and features a large internal courtyard and massive cylindrical towers.
Surrounded by a moat, the entrance was originally reached by two drawbridges. Inside, you can still visit a small torture chamber, whose ceiling had a small hole in it to allow the victims' atrocious cries of pain to echo around the prison and terrorize the other prisoners.
Free entry for everyone
Convention Hall, Groups Reception, Guided Tours, Toilet Facilities and Showers
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