The area where the town of Este in northern Italy is located was originally occupied by the important Roman town of Ateste, and also inhabited before Roman times. Barbarian invasions and floods destroyed the ancient town during the late sixth century. Then nothing is said of the town in historical sources until the 10th century.
The origins of this castle—not to be confused with the moated Este Castle in Ferrara—are also unclear. One hypothesis is that the castle was originally a mansion of a local lord that was progressively expanded, and at some point it may have been part of a system of fortifications surrounding a central citadel. The castle was assaulted numerous times during the 13th and 14th centuries. The original structure was destroyed in 1249 by the troops of the powerful nobleman Ezzelino II da Romano. The castle was probably partially rebuilt and destroyed again, maybe more than once. This constant process of destruction and rebuilding slowly deleted all the evidence of the original structure.
The current structure was probably erected at some point during the 14th century, but then abandoned for centuries. The castle then became a country residence of a local noble family and it was acquired by the municipality of Este in 1887. It now hosts an archaeological museum and public gardens.