Le Castella

Le Castella is located about 15 km far from the Hotel S.Antonio Village and is the most impressive military work in the south, built by military architects in the fifteenth century, entirely surrounded by the sea. The imposing fortress of the Aragonese age, with remakes and additions of Andrea Carafa, sec. XVI.

Open to the public: the Ruins of the complex, with sturdy forts and cylindrical towers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Higher and better preserved, a beautiful circular tower, with a circle of machicolations, dominating the group of houses that form the maritime-tourist village.

The plural Le Castella can be explained by the fact that in front of the current Aragonese Castle there were fortified small islands; in fact, in the sea floor there are some remains of masonry works.

The construction of the "cinquecentesco manor" was recently completed when the people of Castiglione faced a long siege by the pirate Kheir.ed-Din, nicknamed the Barbarossa. The population, alarmed and terrified, sought refuge in the Castle for eight days resisting the violent siege, then capitulated and suffered a damaging looting: the houses burned, many people lost their lives and others taken prisoner. Among the excavations made and then transported to Constantinople was found that boy of eleven years named Giovanni Dionigi Galeno, known in history with the name of Uccialì.
The corsair Barbarossa, who arrived in Constantinople, sold the Castilian boy to the pirate Giafer for a small price, who assigned him to the oar. On several occasions the young Dionigi gave evidence of high naval strategic capacity so as to enter the graces of the master who destined him to places of trust and, even, to grant him freedom. From this moment he changed the name of John into that of Kiligi-Ali for Muslims and in Uccialì for Christians.

The remarkable qualities of a valiant naval leader and the repeated victories achieved allowed him to become admiral by the King of Tripoli, Tunis and Algiers. In the Battle of Lepanto (7 October 1571) he was the antagonist of the most famous admiral of the Christian fleet Andrea Doria. In this bloody battle, among the Turks only the wing of the fleet commanded by Uccialì was saved, which brought to safety fifty galleys in Constantinople, where he was received with great honor by the Sultan, at whose court he spent the last years of his life. Death seized him at the age of seventy. His bones rest in a monumental sarcophagus in the Church of St. Sophia in Istanbul.

During the Turkish raids for the village of Le Castella followed a phase of decline both economic and demographic. In 1816, when the Bourbons returned to the kingdom of Naples, the town of Le Castella ceased to be an independent municipality and became a fraction of the "Comune dell'Isola". After the second world war thanks to the work of rehabilitation of the territory, the Agricultural Reform, the improved traffic conditions and the presence of electricity, the center of Le Castella has risen to new life with prospects for agricultural and tourism development.

The rapid socio-economic ascent, is due not only to public and private bathing facilities, to the construction of the marina and tourist attraction of the Aragonese Castle, but also to the intense industriousness and diligence of its inhabitants, who, in a short time, have transformed a predominantly agricultural village, in a welcoming and thriving tourist center of national and international interest.


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