Castello Angioino

The Castle is located in the San Erasmo medieval district of the city of Gaeta, perched on the extreme eastern tip of the rocky promontory of Mount Orlando. Located as it is on the slopes of Mount Orlando, the Castle is included in the homonymous park that belongs to Ulises’s Coast regional park, an area of ​​great landscape value. The eastern side of the Castle stands above the medieval quarter, whereas the western side faces a stony slope descending steeply above the sea. The monumental building extends over on area of approximately 14.100 square metres and, although not exactly, it can be divided into an upper structure, so called “Aragonese o Alfonsino Castle”, and a lower one so called “Angioino Castle”. The two structure, connected through a complex of sighting and fortification towers, were built in different historical periods therefore they have distinct structural features. The upper building is characterized by a rectangular plant and in three of its corners, there are cylindrical towers: the northwest tower is much higher than the others, whereas in the southeast corner lacks a tower. The northwest tower is also known as Torre di Gaeta and holds the Royal Chapel inside the dome, commissioned by Federico II of Bourbon in 1849. The lower building has, on the contrary, an irregular polygonal shape, moreover its two sides towards the medieval quarter and Mount Orlando are strengthened by turrets shaped like a truncated cone. Currently, the Aragonese wing of the Castle is the location of Nautical School of the Guardia di Finanza, instead, the Angioino Castle is the venue for conventions and summer schools organized by University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, but until a few years ago it was the location of the military prison of Gaeta. The Castle, whose original nucleus dates back to the end of the X century throughout the ducal period, developed under the Norman monarchy from 1140 to 1198, but it is during the reign of Federico II of Sweden between 1222 and 1234 it was fortified. It was destroyed by order of Pope Gregory IX in 1229. Later, around 1279, it was rebuilt by the Angevins, but it was not yet a royal residence considering that it was not used by Ladislao of Durazzo during his long stay in Gaeta from 1937 to 1939. On the other hand, it will go through great transformations during the kingdom of Alfonso d'Aragona, after 1436, becoming a royal and sumptuous residence. He, in fact, equipped the Castle with throne room, apartments, library, armory, chapel and mint. New towers and bastions were built by Charles V, giving it the present and definitive face.