Aragonese castle. History
Historians suggest that the first fortification on the rock near the island of Ischia appeared in 474 BC. A small fortress was built by the tyrant of Syracuse (in Ancient Greece, so-called rulers who came to power by force) Heron I and had his name, "Kastrum Herones".
Heron provided support to the Greek colony Kuma, which was located on the site of the current areas of Naples, Bakoli and Pozzouli. The Greeks fought a war with the Etruscans, the fleet of Syracuse expelled the Etruscan ships from the Lakko-Ameno bay, and the Heron in gratitude received the entire island of Ischia, which belonged to Kuma. To explore the island of Sirius there was not funds, not a great desire, and he soon came under the control of the Greek city Parthenope, the forerunner of the current Naples.
In 315 BC, the Romans ousted the Greeks, having founded the colony Aenaria on the island. The Romans built several new towers in the fortress, which were used to control the movement of ships in the bay. Under the protection of the fortress, on the site of the current Ischia Ponte and Carta-Romana began to settle farmers and fishermen. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, in the 12th century, the island became the object of robbery for European barbarians - Visigoths, vandals and Normans, and for African pirates. In the next century, the island was attacked by shvabs, then the Angevin-Sicilian dynasty. During this period, a well-fortified rock became a refuge for the local population during the raids. It was possible to get to the castle only by a small staircase on a steep slope from the side of Vivara island.
The eruption of Arso in 1301 have flooded by lava of the city of Geronda (in place of the current Fiaiano) and its residents moved to the rock where it was safer, and soon around the fortress there were houses and plantations.
The modern look of the castle was during the reign of the Angevin dynasty. In 1441, Naples king Alfonso V of Aragon began a serious strengthening of the island, which resulted in not only the Aragonese castle, but also many watchtowers in other parts of the island. The castle received massive walls around the perimeter, which made the rock completely impregnable. In those days, the population often suffered from the attacks of Arab pirates-Saracens, during their raids in the castle found refuge almost the entire population of the island.
At the same time, the island received a connection with the shore - first on a wooden bridge, then it was replaced by a stone dam. At the entrance to the castle dam ended with a drawbridge, which in danger cut off the island from the shore.
Behind the bridge is a well-fortified entrance to the fortress, there was a guard and the commandant's office of the fortress. Up led passage, hewn in the solid rock.
The greatest flowering of the castle is in the 16th century, then the island was home to 1892 families, it was a city with houses and farmland. On the rock was a Bishop of Ischia, 13 churches, a convent of the St.Clarissa, the Basilian Abbey, Seminary.
The castle became one of the cultural centers of Italy, which turned it Vittoria Colonna, a famous poet of the Renaissance. In 1509, Vittoria married Ferrante d'Avalos, he was the son of the Governor of the island and a friend of her father, Aragon General Fabrizio Colonna. Visiting Vittoria had the best writers and artists of the era, including Ariosto, Sannazaro, Pontano, Michelangelo and many others.
In the second half of the eighteenth century, pirate raids stopped and residents began to leave the castle, as a limited area is not allowed to engage in agriculture. In 1809, the island was besieged by the English squadron allied to Napoleon. The garrison refused to surrender, and the fortress was subjected to artillery bombardment. As a result, the Cathedral and many other buildings were completely destroyed. After the restoration of Bourbon power, only about 30 inhabitants remained on the island.
In 1823, the king of Sicily Ferdinand IV arranged from the fortress prison for the participants of Risorgimento (Italian "revival"), the national liberation movement, which fought against foreign domination and for the unification of Italy into a single state. In 1860, the Sicilian Kingdom fell under the onslaught of the troops of Giuseppe Garibaldi and prison in the Aragonese castle has been eliminated.
In 1912, the state property Administration put the island up for auction and the castle was sold to a private owner. The new owners have rebuilt the bastions to the Albergo Il Monastero and have arranged the area, making the castle the main historical landmark of Ischia.