Castello sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea) is a small castle in Rapallo, located on the waterfront Vittorio Veneto. The castle is the symbol of the town and was declared a national monument by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
The decision to build a castle for defensive purposes was taken after the events of July 4, 1549, when Rapallo suffered the assault of the Turkish pirate Dragut, who looted the town and kidnapped 22 young girls.
The building, based on a design by Antonio de Càrabo, was begun in 1550, and the works were completed one year later. With the construction of the Castle of Rapallo, the entire western area of the Gulf of Tigullio was completed with a defensive system, which included also the castles of Portofino, Paraggi, Santa Margherita Ligure and the nearby Punta Pagana.
The new mayor of Rapallo, Benedetto Fieschi Raggio, was able to inaugurate the castle on May 10, 1551, and asked the Genoese Senate for the necessary artillery to defend the castle. In the following years, the castle was modified several times, expanding its structure.
In 1608, it became the seat of the captainship of Rapallo. Here, the captain had his office, while in the lower part of the castle a temporary prison was created.
In 1865, the castle became the property of the Kingdom of Italy, which chose the former defensive post as the headquarters of the Guardia di Finanza.
In 1958, for the sum of 6,700,000 Italian lire, it was purchased by the Municipality of Rapallo, renovated and declared an Italian national monument.
The last major restoration was carried out between 1997 and 1999, under the scientific direction of Benito Paolo Torsello, thanks to additional funds from the European Union and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. After further works in 2005 to adapt the building to safety regulations, the castle is now home to art exhibitions and cultural events.
TIP: Each year, on July 3, during the patronal festivities held in honor of Our Lady of Montallegro, the castle is symbolically lit on fire, as part of a fireworks display. If you happen to be there on 3rd of July, don’t miss this incredible show.
HOW TO GET THERE
Castello sul Mare is located about 500 meters away from the Rapallo railway station. The closest bus station is Piazza Polipo, located about 60 meters away, on the bus Lines 39, 93, 95, 96 and 98. To find the castle on foot, use the map below.