Rapallo Castle

Rapallo Castle: the symbol of the city, on the sea.

Italian Version 🇮🇹

Rapallo Castle, symbol of the city, on the sea.

✅ Before starting the reading – below – we put some really interesting links about Rapallo and Tigullio. Take a look! 😉

First of all: why Rapallo Castle was built on the seafront?

The construction of the Castle of Rapallo, is linked to the events that happened in the village on July 4, 1549. 

That day, Rapallo suffered the assault by the Turkish pirate Dragut.

✔ The landing took place in the night darkness and was quick and easy for the Turkish admiral’s fleet. In fact, Rapallo was not equipped with walls for defense.

Rapallo, Castello di Rapallo
Rapallo Castle – Photo by Davide Giambrignoni, from the Facebook Group

The Pirate Dragut … always him! ⚠

In the spring of 1549 , “Dragut”, having returned free from captivity by the hand of Andrea Doria, was ready to start a new series of raids. On July 4, 1549, the Turkish ships, favored by the low light, approached the coast, quickly heading for the Rapallo bay.

The men went ashore at three points: at the Porta Saline, at the Marina delle Barche and in the Stella district, in Avenaggi. Brandishing their weapons, the pirates throw themselves on the houses, spreading in every direction.

Take also a look at: 5 things to see in Rapallo

The Genoese and the local troops – in a very small number – and taken by surprise, could do nothing against the pirates arrived from the sea.

The inhabitants had only to seek salvation with a desperate escape. 

Castello di Rapallo
Rapallo Castle at Christmas time – Photo by Daniela Falco, from the Facebook Group

Over twenty-two women from Rapallo were captured and then, in the following August, disembarked in Algiers, starting for them unspeakable sufferings. And also (of course) for their relatives, with the torment of trying to redeem them at the price of enormous economical sacrifices.

The material damage suffered by the village was also enormous, due to the devastation of the shops, craft workshops and houses.

Take also a look at: Rapallo Music Kiosk


▶ Genoa commissioned Captain Gregorio Roisecco, commander of the troops arriving from Genoa, to assess the defensive situation of the Rapallese village.

Roisecco, suggested to the community and the Republic, the construction of a Castle or “a defensive post”, to control the western side of the Gulf of Tigullio.

Castello di Rapallo
Rapallo Castle, in Italian livery – Photo by Francesco Lobianco, from the Facebook Group

A delegation from Rapallo, led by Fruttuoso Vassallo, submitted the request to the Genoese Senate, which promptly gave its consent.

From that moment, Rapallo Castle, constituted with the fortifications of San Michele di Pagana, Santa Margherita Ligure, Paraggi and Portofino, the defensive system of the Tigullio Gulf.

Fortunately, few years later, the pirate raids ended.

Take also a look at: Valle Christi Monastery in Rapallo

The fort, over the years, had modifications and extensions, and also changed its original destination.

In 1608, Rapallo was erected in Capitaneato and the Castle was temporarily used as the Captain’s residence. Years later, it also operated as a prison, also having a chapel for prisoners, in the upper part.