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History and restoration


The Alfonsino castle, a jewel of military architecture located on the island of Sant'Andrea at the mouth of the internal port of Brindisi, is the symbol of the conflict between Christianity and Islam.

It is also known by the name of Aragonese, sea or red castle due to the color that the building stone, the carparo, takes on at sunset. The fortress represents, together with the Swabian castle, one of the two bulwarks of defense present in the city.

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Between1059 and the1348 the island of Sant'Andrea hosted  the Benedictine Abbey of Sant'Andrea dell'Isola.

In the1481, on the initiative ofAlfonso of Aragon, on the now abandoned island a first fortress was built, called “Alfonsina”, to protect the port, later equipped with two defensive bulwarks, the quadrangular dock and a reception hall. 

In 1558, during the reign of Philip II, the fortress was further expanded towards the north with the construction of the Forte a Mare which also housed a hundred quarters for troops and large storage spaces.

The part of the island not occupied by military structures hosted a hospital, built in the eighteenth century at the behest of Charles III of Bourbon and remained in use until the early nineteenth century. 

Starting from 1868, the island was joined to the mainland by means of the Bocche di Puglia dam and in 1892 a new lighthouse was erected on the Rocca Alfonsina. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Castle was transformed into an arsenal until the Navy decommissioned it in 1983. Since then it has been included in the historic-artistic state property, and has been granted for government use to the Ministry of Culture -  Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of the Provinces of Brindisi and Lecce.


The Ministry of Culture – Regional Secretariat for Pugliawithin the projectNOP "Culture and Development", has started the restoration and re-functionalization works of the Fort at Sea, in order to make it usable in all its parts. 

Between2018 and 2019the first interventions made it possible to equip the rooms on the first floor with lighting and an immersive multimedia room, while on the outside the wall continuity of the patrol walkway was restored and consolidated with alternative materials, the  walls have been brought back to face view and useful interventions have been carried out for the identification of  nature trails.

 During the second phase, between the2022 and 2023, other conservative interventions will be completed, in particular on the stone and decorative elements, such as coats of arms and friezes.  

Given the proximity to settlements of the Bronze Age, during the restoration works, archaeological investigations made it possible to identify a frequentation of the sitesince the Upper Paleolithic

For historical insights


                          ALFONSINO CASTLE

                          OF BRINDISI

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