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Otranto Castle

Gripping Gothic fiction and centuries of fascinating history meet in the formidable walls and towers of Otranto’s impressive medieval castle.

Many people know of the Otranto Castle (Castello Aragonese) as the setting of the first novel written in the Gothic genre. The real history of this venerable fortress, however, is just as fascinating as the fiction that made the castle famous. Learn about the sieges and sackings that have shaped the story of this centuries-old castle.

A fortress has stood on this site for far longer than its current iteration has been here. Otranto’s position as the easternmost city in Italy has made it susceptible to attack. In 1067, invaders laid siege to it and ruined the fortress. Although it was rebuilt in the 1200s, the city’s defenses were further destroyed in 1480 during the Sack of Otranto. Visit the castle today to see how it has looked since it was rebuilt after that calamitous defeat.

Wander around the edge of the castle and marvel at its seemingly impenetrable walls. Look for three different towers at the corners of the walls and spot the lawns where the moat used to be. A coat of arms located above the entrance represents Emperor Charles V.

Cross the drawbridge and head inside to explore inside the fortifications. Stride around the ramparts for views of the Mediterranean. On a clear day you can see the mountains of Albania from the curtain wall.

Read about the massacre of over 800 locals who refused to convert from Christianity to Islam during the Sack of Otranto. Step inside the Triangular Hall, a celebrated example of military architecture. Remnants from the castle’s past, including murals on the walls and ancient cannonballs, can also be found inside.

As you explore, imagine yourself in a work of Gothic fiction. Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto in 1764, a work that is now widely regarded as the first Gothic novel. Interestingly, he never visited the castle itself despite making it famous.

Otranto Castle is open every day except Sundays. The courtyard occasionally hosts exhibitions and events that come with an extra admission fee. Find the castle on the waterfront, just a 3-minute walk from Otranto Cathedral.


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Best Lodging Options Near Otranto Castle

See all 1,632 Properties near Otranto Castle
Hotel Vittoria Resort & Spa $91
Hotel Vittoria Resort & Spa

Hotel Vittoria Resort & Spa

via Catona, Otranto, LE
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Otranto, this spa hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Otranto Waterfront and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Alimini Lakes. Otranto Cathedral and Otranto Castle are also within 10 minutes. Otranto Station is 12 minutes by foot.

    Le Cale d'Otranto Beach Resort
    Le Cale d'Otranto Beach Resort

    Le Cale d'Otranto Beach Resort

    Torre Santo Stefano, Otranto, LE
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Nestled on the beach, this Otranto hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Alimini Beach, Otranto Waterfront, and Otranto Cathedral. Otranto Castle and Torre del Serpe are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      Hotel Palazzo Papaleo $119
      Hotel Palazzo Papaleo

      Hotel Palazzo Papaleo

      Via Rondachi 1, Otranto, LE
         
        5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Otranto Historic Centre, this luxury hotel is steps from Otranto Waterfront, Otranto Cathedral, and Otranto Castle. Alimini Lakes and Baia Dei Turchi Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km). Otranto Station is 13 minutes by foot.

        Palazzo De Mori $102
        Palazzo De Mori

        Palazzo De Mori

        Via Bastioni Pelagi, Otranto, lecce
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Otranto Historic Centre, this townhouse accommodation is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Otranto Waterfront and 3.1 mi (5 km) from Alimini Lakes. Otranto Castle and Otranto Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Otranto Station is 15 minutes by foot.

          La Terrazza Sul Mare $92
          La Terrazza Sul Mare

          La Terrazza Sul Mare

          Via Madonna Del Passo, 6, Otranto
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated near the beach, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Otranto Waterfront and Port of Otranto. Otranto Castle and Otranto Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Otranto Station is 19 minutes by foot.

            29 Apartments
            29 Apartments

            29 Apartments

            Via Antonio Primaldo 29, Otranto, Provincia di Lecce
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Otranto, this townhouse accommodation is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Otranto Castle and 3.1 mi (5 km) from Alimini Lakes. Otranto Cathedral and Otranto Waterfront are also within 10 minutes. Otranto Station is 15 minutes by foot.

              Dimora Storica "idrusa" Centro Storico Otranto
              Dimora Storica "idrusa" Centro Storico Otranto

              Dimora Storica "idrusa" Centro Storico Otranto

              Piazza del Popolo, Otranto, LE
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Otranto Historic Centre, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Otranto Waterfront and 3.1 mi (4.9 km) from Alimini Lakes. Otranto Castle and Otranto Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Otranto Station is 15 minutes by foot.

                B&B Centro Storico $83
                B&B Centro Storico

                B&B Centro Storico

                VIA LEONDARI 22, Otranto, lecce
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Otranto Historic Centre, this bed & breakfast is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Otranto Waterfront and 3.1 mi (5 km) from Alimini Lakes. Otranto Castle and Otranto Cathedral are also within 5 minutes. Otranto Station is 15 minutes by foot.