Lazio boasts much more than Rome. For example, the magnificent castles that dot the landscape. From the mountains to the lakes and down to the sea. Hidden gems surrounded by villages and hamlets, rich in history and legends. We have selected and reviewed for you the 10 most beautiful castles in Lazio. Find out why and get inspired!
The top 10 of the most beautiful castles in Lazio
Just go through the gallery, read our tips, and pick your next destination. You can easily visit these beautiful castles by planning day trips from Rome, which is perfect if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. We also have lists for the best castles in Tuscany, and the best castles in Campania!
1. Castello Orsini-Odescalchi, Bracciano (Roma)
The majestic Orsini-Odescalchi castle is located on the southern shore of Lake Bracciano, ca. 30 km north of Rome. This castle was built in the 15th century and was both a defensive construction and the residence of the Orsini and Borgia families.
It is by far one of the most impressive and best-preserved castles in Italy. The museum within the castle premises exhibits many valuable artworks, consisting of ancient weapons, furniture, and paintings, but also books and manuscripts, and its rooms are decorated with superb frescoes.
The breathtaking castle scenery is the perfect setting for truly memorable events. This is why many international celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, have chosen to celebrate their wedding in this idyllic location. Furthermore, the castle has also been the setting for many films, TV shows, and serials. Bracciano is reachable from Rome by train, making the Orsini-Odescalchi castle one of the most popular day trips from Rome.
2. Castello di Santa Severa, Santa Marinella (Roma)
A short distance from Bracciano, right on the beach of Santa Marinella, you will find one of the most romantic castles in Italy: Santa Severa. From the windows of this fortress, dating back to the 14th century, you can enjoy a wonderful sunset to the sound of the waves.
We suggest you visit the Museum of the Sea and Ancient Navigation inside the castle. You will discover the remains of Etruscan and Roman ships found not far from the coast. Thanks to the soft lighting, you will have the impression of being underwater!
Finally, do not miss a visit to the small local craft shops that animate the castle. You can find beautiful pottery, handicrafts, and various works by local artists. If you wish to visit an ancient medieval town and spend a relaxing day at the beach, this is the perfect destination! To reach Santa Marinella, just take the train. The castle is a short distance away.
3. Rocca Abbaziale, Subiaco (Roma)
The Rocca Abbaziale of Subiaco, known as the Borgia fortress, was built at the end of the 11th century by the abbot Giovanni V on a steep hill for defensive purposes. It includes a watchtower, a church, fortifications, prisons, as well as the wonderful frescoed apartments of noble families.
Throughout history, many famous people resided in Subiaco, such as the Spanish theologian Juan De Torquemada and the Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia. Did you know that the fortress also hosted Rodrigo’s lover?
Her name was Vannozza De Cattanei, and right here in Subiaco, she gave birth, in 1480, to a beautiful girl: Lucrezia Borgia. The illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo and Vannozza would become one of the most emblematic personalities of the Renaissance age.
Make your visit memorable and go rafting. Not far from the castle, the more adventurous of you can have an adrenaline-pumping experience. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. A river guide secures and guides the raft along the river rapids. Are you ready to go?
4. Castello Caetani, Sermoneta (Latina)
In the medieval village of Sermoneta, you will find one of the best-preserved castles in Italy. The majestic Castello Caetani was built in the 13th century by the Annibaldi family and, in 1297, it was acquired by the Caetani family, to whom it still belongs.
Throughout history, the castle hosted emperors and popes and suffered devastation and looting by the Spanish and French military. In the late 19th century, the Caetani family returned to Sermoneta and undertook massive restoration work. The so-called Maschio, a 42-meter-high tower, and the smaller Maschietto are still visible.
Once there, don’t miss a visit to the wonderful garden of Ninfa (in the pictures). You will find over 1,300 plants and trees, such as cherry and ornamental apple trees, but also magnolias, birches, marsh iris, and a sensational variety of Japanese maples.
The charming village of Sermoneta has a very rich culinary tradition. Do not miss to taste some of its typical dishes, such as polenta with sausages, ricotta cheese pie, pappardelle with wild boar, abbacchio caso e ova (lamb with eggs and cheese), and finally the delicious Giglietti (white wine flavored cookies).
5. Castello Longhi De Paolis, Fumone (Frosinone)
Built between the 9th and 10th centuries, this military fortress is the highest in Europe (800 meters) and owes its name to the fumata, the smoke signals used to warn about the arrival of the enemy.
Over the centuries, it repelled the sieges of Frederick Barbarossa and Henry VI and was the scene of cruelty and horrors. However, the most remarkable episode was the imprisonment of the Holy Father Celestine V in 1295. He became Pope at the age of 86, after a 30-month conclave, thanks to his fame, and given the lasting political contrasts between the Colonna and the Orsini, the dominant cardinal families of the time.
However, the choice of the cardinals turned out to be a mistake. After a few months, the pope came into conflict with the Roman clergy and decided to abdicate. The new Pope Boniface VIII promptly realized the illegitimacy of his election and decided to imprison Celestino V in Fumone, where he died 10 months later.
From the beautiful hanging garden, you can enjoy a wonderful view and can see centuries-old trees and many varieties of plants and flowers. A legend has it that touching the 800-meter summit stone brings good luck. It is worth a try!
6. Castello Rocca Sinibalda, Rocca Sinibalda (Rieti)
The Rocca Sinibalda castle is one of the most fascinating and mysterious castles in Italy. A National Monument since 1928, the castle dates back to the 11th century and owes its name to Sinibaldo, the Count of the Sabina region. The events of the following centuries are shrouded in mystery: few documentary sources, dubious authors, de facto properties often in contrast with real rights.
The castle is shaped like an eagle with folded wings. Outside sober and severe, it is fully decorated with frescoes inspired by classical culture. Surprisingly, the castle houses a collection of modern art which includes masks and totems manufactured by Northwest Indians and African ritual objects, as well as recycled art.
The halls, courtyards, cellars, and gardens can be visited all year round.
7. Castello Ruspoli, Vignanello (Viterbo)
Castello Ruspoli is a 16th-century castle located in the medieval village of Vignanello, 70 km from Rome. It is very renowned for its prestigious Giardino all’italiana, one of the most sumptuous gardens in Italy. The garden was realized at the behest of Ottavia Orsini, daughter of Giulia Farnese and Vicino Orsini (creator of the Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo, 20 km north of Vignanello). The plant sculptures of the garden wind and intertwine to form an abstract geometric design.
The castle often hosts private events, such as weddings and ceremonies, and can be visited on weekends.
8. Torre Alfina, Acquapendente (Viterbo)
Torre Alfina is one of the most prestigious historic dwellings in Lazio. The towers and crenelated walls of this medieval castle are well-preserved, as are the beautifully decorated interior. The internal courtyard and the wonderful Italian gardens, protected by fortified walls, overlook luxuriant countryside at 360 degrees.
All around the enchanting village of Torre Alfina and its castle extends the Bosco del Sasseto, a mixed forest of centuries-old deciduous trees, which exceed 25 meters in height. National Geographic called it the “Snow White Wood”.
The castle can only be visited on weekends, whereas the fantastic park is a regular destination for visits and naturalistic activities.
9. Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara, Bolsena (Viterbo)
This impressive castle dominates the village and the lake of Bolsena. From the top of its walls, you can enjoy a fantastic view. The castle was built between the 13th and 14th centuries and later underwent numerous renovations. Inside, a small museum houses interesting Etruscan and Roman finds.
After visiting the castle, you can take a walk through the narrow streets of Bolsena, a pretty village with dark stone houses, or practice sports on the shores of the lake, such as swimming or fishing.
Furthermore, in the numerous local trattorias, you can taste the lavaret, also known as whitefish, a delicious fish caught in the lake.
10. Civita di Bagnoregio (Viterbo)
Just 15 km from Bolsena, you will find a dreamy place, Civita di Bagnoregio. It is not exactly a castle, but we like to include it on this list. You will easily understand the reason for this choice when arriving on the spot. Seen from afar, this fortified citadel looks like a Castle in the sky and is by far one of the most precious gems of the Lazio region.
Civita di Bagnoregio is located on the top of a tuff hill and is reachable only on foot through a long pedestrian bridge. This citadel boasts Etruscan and medieval origins. It is also known as the dying city, due to the progressive erosion of the tuffaceous rocks that began thousands of years ago and is still ongoing.
Walking through the narrow streets, you will have the feeling that time has stopped. Try to climb the Eastern Fortress and enjoy the view of the Ponticelli, the clay walls suffering from erosion. The scenery is breathtaking! Now you know why Civita di Bagnoregio ranks among the most popular day trips from Rome.
Inside the walls, you will find restaurants, bars, bed & breakfasts, and local craft shops. Enjoy your trip!
Did you like our gallery of castles in Lazio?
The region of Lazio is hiding much more than Rome. As you could see, there are plenty of castles to visit, but there are also beautiful beaches, gardens, towns, hiking spots, and much more! If you’re planning to explore the region of Lazio, you just need to follow our suggestions for your next day trips from Rome. Get ready to go!