Rapallo Tourism » What to see » The Old Castle on the Sea
The Old Castle on the Sea

 

             L'antico Castello visto dalle Nagge

 What is

Located at the eastern end of the Lungomare Vittorio Veneto,( waterfront promenade Vittorio Veneto) surrounded by the sea and connected to the dry land by a pier, its unmistakable silhouette is one of the symbols of the city of Rapallo and is reproduced in engravings, postcards, stamps and souvenirs.
It was built in 1550 for defensive purposes after the looting and destruction of the town by the pirate Dragut, who enslaved many people.
Used for a long time as a prison it was restored and is now a prestigious venue for exhibitions and conferences.
It’s also the protagonist of the top event of the festivities towns: every year, on July 3rd, the last night of the celebrations in honor of the apparition of Our Lady Montallegro, the Castle is the starting point for the firework display called "the shot of the boys", after which fire is set artificially. The effect of white pyrotechnic waterfall that descends into the sea from its roof and red smoke coming out from its windows is unique in the world.
 

 L'Antico Castello e la Fontana del Polipo

A bit of history

Who has not heard and remembered with a shudder, the attack of Dragut to our village? Well, behind this name, which is spelled as in the past documents as Droguth, Draguto, Dragute, Dorghutto and in many other forms, it outlines the menacing figure of that Torghud that, captured in June 1540 by Giannettino Doria in the Bay of Girolata at Ajaccio, had ended up chained to the bench of the oarsmen on board of one of the Genoese galleys of the great admiral Andrea Doria.
And in such a miserable condition would certainly have ended his adventures if Khair-ad-Din, the most powerful barbaric corsair, sadly known as the 'Barbarossa', (red beard), ended, after a few years, his imprisonment providing for the payment of the large ransom .
So Torghud could quickly resume even more bold to take the sea under the banner of the crescent moon, casting the terror everywhere, in a startling rise that, from success to success, led him first to be the most feared pirate amongst the 'infidels' and then to the government of the city of Tripoli. A cannonball finally killed him on June 25, 1565 under the walls of Malta besieged from him.

The assault on the village

In the spring of 1549 Torghud "Dragut, returned free from captivity inflicted by Andrea Doria, and is ready to start a new series of raids. At dawn on 4 July 1549, the Turkish ships, which under cover of darkness, had approached the coast, pointing rapidly to the heart of the Rapallo Bay. The men, on fast boats, take ground in three points: at the Porta delle Saline (salt way gate), at the boats’ pier in the coastal center, and in the Stella district, in Avenaggi. Brandishing weapons, the pirates thrown themselves, thirsty of prey, on housing, spreading in every direction. The surprise is absolute and it cannot be done any attempt to organize a somewhat effective resistance. The inhabitants, therefore, have to seek salvation with a desperate escape. From the documents, we have news of the capture of more than twenty-two people, that in August will be landed in Algiers, starting untold suffering and torment for their relatives attempting to redeem them with the cost of enormous sacrifices. This narration is depicted in a picture situated in the council chamber of Rapallo Municipality.
Many other considerable material damage suffered by our village such as the devastation of the shops, craft workshops, houses, etc.

Bartolomeo Magiocco

 In this context the heroic episode of the young Bartolomeo Maggiocco that, in defiance of danger, gets down in the village, rushing at the door Saline to deal with the pirates and save the girlfriend Giulia Giudice. The Maggiocco, depicted in a painting that decorates the council chamber, will always be remembered for this act and also merit the naming of a street.

The construction of the sixteenth-century castle

The assault suffered determined Rapallo to plead before the Genoese Senate for the building of a fort to protect the beach. A delegation led by Fruttuoso Vassallo, who submitted the request, promptly, got the approval desired.
Since that time, the castle formed, with the fortifications of San Michele di Pagana, Santa Margherita Ligure Paraggi and Portofino, the defense system of the Tigullio Gulf.
 L'Antico Castello visto dal Lungomare

The recent history

The fort suffered, over the years, modifications and extensions and also changed the original destination. When in 1608 Rapallo was raised to Captaincy, the Castle was temporarily used as the residence of the Captain, and later worked as a prison, even disposing of a chapel for the inmates.

Passed into state property under the Law of 1 April 1865, the Castle, which erroneously started to be called 'medieval', was converted into a headquarters of the Guardia di Finanza (Revenue Guard Corps), while remaining also the district prison.

Today

By resolution 20 October 1958 it was finally purchased by the Municipality for 6,700,000 Lire and in 1963, started the radical works of recovery that have turned it into a prestigious venue. Enhanced by important restoration works, undertaken with the help of the Foundation of the Cassa di Risparmio di Genova and Imperia (a local bank),between 1997 and 1999, gave new splendor to the Castle.

Today the Old Castle on the sea has been transformed into a prestigious exhibition seat, enhanced and made even more impressive by the further restoration works carried out in 2005.

The Rapallo Castle is also the protagonist of the most important event of the festivities’ town: every year, on July 3rd, the last night of the celebrations in honor of the apparition of Our Lady of Montallegro, the Castle is the starting point for the firework display called "the shot of the boys", after which fire is set artificially. The effect of white pyrotechnic waterfall that descends into the sea from its roof and red smoke coming out from its windows is unique in the world.
 


Opening hours

The Old Castle on the Sea is opened to the public and can be visited free of charge on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays, and on the days before public holidays, until 31/12/2012, with the following schedule:

- From 15.00 to 18.00 during the period 1 October to 31 May

- From 16.00 to 19.00 during the period 1 June to 30 September

without prejudice to the possibility to modify them for particular needs and in the course of exhibitions should they have different opening hours.

Therefore, please consult the exhibitions’ schedule in progress at the Castle in the Events section on the agenda.Eventi in agenda

Antico Castello sul Mare
Lungomare Vittorio Veneto

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