In a country where castles dot coastlines and hilltops, the Aragon Castle of Calvi Risorta seems a bit out of place. Instead of commanding an ocean or valley view, the medieval castle sits right off the roadway miles from the coast, in a relatively flat area of Campania, Italy. The castle is in fact strategically located along the route from southern Italy to Rome. Just as the nearby modern highway (the A1) now directly connects Naples to Rome, the ancient Via Latina and the Appian Way once meandered through Campania.
Several “Castelli Aragonesi” dot the Italian landscape. There is one in Puglia, on Ischia, in Baia, in Lecce, in Ortona, and perhaps most famously in downtown Naples (Castel Nuovo). Each “Aragonese” fortress generally has four cylinder-shaped towers connected by high walls surrounded by a moat. The smaller Aragon Castle of Calvi Risorta, too, follows this almost cartoon-like pattern. The castle’s structure dates from the 9th century and acquired its current layout during the Aragon Dynasty which ruled the region from 1442 and 1555.
The nearby Cathedral di San Casto dates from the early 12th century. The seminary (a small palace to the castle’s northwest) dates from the 18th century and historically housed the episcopal curia of the local diocese. Between the seminary and the castle lies the so-called Bourbon “Dogana”— a small, white, gazebo-like structure that once served as a customs house.
Modern restoration of the castle began in 2009 and resulted in a triumphant re-opening in 2016. The plan was for the location to house the Museum of the Ancient Cales, however, these plans were left incomplete.