Doria Castle – Vernazza, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Doria Castle

Vernazza, Italy

This amazing medieval fortress stands atop a promontory along the famous Cinque Terre. 

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Cinque Terre is a famous area of the Italian Riviera along the coast of Liguria. The rugged and mountainous terrain that makes up this coast creates many promontories and inlets. A medieval fortress known as Doria Castle (Castello Doria) stands on top of a rocky ridge near the village of Vernazza.

The first nucleus of the fortress was dedicated during the 11th century by the Obertenghi, a Frankish noble family that ruled the area. The cylindrical tower that is still present to this day is the oldest part of the fortress, while later additions were made over the course of many centuries by various families and countries that held power over the Cinque Terre. Among these additions, a chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist is highlighted on some old maps, however, no current traces of the chapel exist.

The tower was used as a lookout fortress to protect the village from pirates. In 1284, the fortress was occupied by the invading forces of Pisa during the Battle of Meloria, ultimately won by the Genoese. The fortress was once again used for military purposes during World War II when German forces used it as an anti-aircraft station.

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