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Aragonese Castle

Tear yourself away long enough from snorkeling and relaxing in the thermal spas of Ischia to explore this gem of a medieval fortress on a rocky islet in the Bay of Naples.

With its buildings perched on the top of rocky cliffs just offshore, the Aragonese Castle of Ischia is a sight to behold. Explore the churches, garden and convent of this ancient medieval fortress and imagine how attackers were easily repelled from here.

It was the Greek Hiero I of Syracuse who constructed a fortress on this islet in 474 B.C. However, it has been conquered, ruined and rebuilt so often that it looks very different today. The Romans, the early Parthenopean peoples of Naples, the French and the British have all conquered and altered it. In 1823 the king of Naples made it a prison for exiled people. Finally, in 1912, the castle was sold to a private owner.

Castello Aragonese, as it is locally known, was named after Alfonso V of Aragon. In 1441 he built a stone bridge to replace the wooden one that connected the islet to the mainland. Make your way across this 722-feet (220-meter) stone walkway and then follow the path up to the castle, or save time and take the 1970s elevator for magnificent panoramic views.

Explore the streets leading up to the fortress. Walk towards the cupola of the central church of Immacolata, and spot the smaller churches along the way. If you are feeling brave, delve into the crypts of the old convent, which tell a harrowing historic tale. 

Relax with an espresso or cappuccino in a local café, admire archaeological displays and paintings and sculptures in tiny galleries. Gaze up to admire the architecture of the royal residence, named Maschio, perched high on the fortress hill and not accessible to the general public.

Look for the towers that were built at the same time as the original castle to spot enemy ships on the horizon. Linger in the fortress until sunset, when the walls take on a golden glow and the whole islet appears like something out of a fairy tale. 

Although Aragonese Castle is open daily from morning until sunset, the last tickets are sold an hour before closing. Guided tours run a few days per week. Note that Maschio, the royal residence on the eastern side of Ischia, is off limits to the public.


Guide to Exploring around Aragonese Castle


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Grand Hotel Il Moresco & Spa $219
Grand Hotel Il Moresco & Spa

Grand Hotel Il Moresco & Spa

Via Emanuel Gianturco, 16, Ischia, Naples
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Ischia Porto, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Campanian Archipelago, Ischia Port, and Aragonese Castle. Gulf of Gaeta and Via Vittoria Colonna are also within 5 minutes.

    Hotel Regina Palace Terme
    Hotel Regina Palace Terme

    Hotel Regina Palace Terme

    Via Edgardo Cortese, 18, Ischia
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Ischia Porto, this beach hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Campanian Archipelago, Ischia Port, and Aragonese Castle. Via Vittoria Colonna and Piazza degli Eroi are also within 5 minutes.

      Hotel Hermitage & Park Terme $95
      Hotel Hermitage & Park Terme

      Hotel Hermitage & Park Terme

      Via L.do Mazzella 80, Ischia, Campania
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Ischia Porto, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Campanian Archipelago and Aragonese Castle. Ischia Port is 1.3 mi (2 km) away.

        Villa Durrueli Resort & Spa $74
        Villa Durrueli Resort & Spa

        Villa Durrueli Resort & Spa

        Traversa V Mirabella 27, Ischia, NA
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Ischia Porto, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Campanian Archipelago, Ischia Port, and Aragonese Castle. Pescatori Beach and Diocesan Museum are also within 5 minutes.

          Miramare E Castello Hotel $180
          Miramare E Castello Hotel

          Miramare E Castello Hotel

          Via Pontiano 5-I, Ischia, NA
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Nestled on the beach, this Ischia Porto hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Campanian Archipelago and Aragonese Castle. Ischia Port is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) away.

            Relais Bijoux B&B $89
            Relais Bijoux B&B

            Relais Bijoux B&B

            Va Pendio del Lapillo, 1/B, Ischia
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Ischia Porto, this bed & breakfast is within 1 mi (2 km) of Campanian Archipelago and Ischia Port. Aragonese Castle is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) away.

              Hotel Don Felipe
              Hotel Don Felipe

              Hotel Don Felipe

              Via Nuova Cartaromana 121, Ischia, NA
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Ischia Porto, this beach hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Campanian Archipelago and Aragonese Castle. Ischia Port is 1.9 mi (3 km) away.

                Villa Fortuna Holiday Resort $40
                Villa Fortuna Holiday Resort

                Villa Fortuna Holiday Resort

                Via dello Stadio 70, Ischia, NA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Ischia Porto, this bed & breakfast is within 2 mi (3 km) of Ischia Port, Aragonese Castle, and Cartaromana Beach. Castiglione Thermal Park and Maronti Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).