Bold Gerone I of Syracuse

Discover Ischia's castle built on a rocky islet in the sea - a warrior's legacy imprinted on the island's scenery, and a perennial source of inspiration and beauty


In the late 5th century BC, when the coasts of Campania were under Cuman rule, Gerone I of Syracuse was called upon to defend the Cumans from Etruscan attacks. Having succeeded his brother as the tyrant of Syracuse, Gerone was a reputed warrior of his time.

Renowned for his strategic acumen, he swiftly responded to the Cumans'plea, engaging in a spirited naval battle off the shores of Ischia. Through his martial prowess and staunch determination, Gerone's fleets succeeded in driving the Etruscans from the Tyrrhenian waters after several days of intense conflict. In gratitude for his glorious deeds, the Cumans ceded the island of Ischia to the tyrant, who pledged to safeguard the Cuman colonies.

Motivated by a profound sense of responsibility, Gerone governed the island with great care. In keeping with his promise to protect the Cumans, he constructed a fortress on an islet which had formed as a result of a volcanic eruption over 300,000 years ago. This fortress, known at the time as Gerone's Castle, commanded the coast of Campania, and stood as a bulwark, shielding the island and its inhabitants.

The island eventually fell under the control of the Parthenopeans and later the Romans. In 1441, Alfonso V of Aragon erected a bridge between the ancient village of Aenaria and the fortress. Surrounded by the sea, and perched on a rock covered in lush cultivations and gardens, the castle served as a wellspring of inspiration for numerous poets and artists. Over time, countless intellectuals have been inspired by the tales and virtues of valiant warriors, such as Gerone, who fearlessly engaged in virtuous exploits within the castle walls. The fortress is now known as the Aragonese Castle – a truly unique spectacle. While we may be familiar with other castles situated on islets across the globe, none seem to possess quite the fascination and historical antiquity of the one in Ischia – a testament to valour, community spirit and remarkable history forever etched in the island's landscape.
Let yourself be spellbound by its magnificence.


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