Castello della Dragonara

Castle in Camogli

Castel Dragone Camogli
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Parma1983

Castel Dragone, also known as the “Castello della Dragonara,” is a 12th century castle in the town of Camogli.

The origins of the Camogli Castle are shrouded in historical uncertainty, with various sources suggesting different construction dates. It is believed that the castle was likely built in the early 11th century, although reliable sources regarding its exact date of construction are scarce and incomplete.

The original castle, possibly smaller than its present form, served as both a lookout and defence centre for the village and the adjacent sea area. It became a gathering place for the local community to elect representatives for administrative and judicial activities. It also served as a refuge against frequent attacks by pirates from the sea.

During the 14th century, the castle underwent several reinforcement efforts, receiving weaponry from the Republic of Genoa to ensure the safety of the village. It faced attacks and destruction by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and Nicolò Fieschi in 1366. Between 1428 and 1430, the castle was significantly expanded and strengthened by the inhabitants themselves, including the adjacent watchtower, to withstand conflicts and assaults.

In 1438, supporters of the Duchy of Milan besieged and dismantled the castle, but it was rebuilt by the villagers just six years later. In 1461, amidst tensions between Camogli, Recco, and Genoa, the castle was ordered to be destroyed, although political manoeuvres prevented complete demolition. By the 16th century, it ceased being a defensive outpost and was repurposed as a prison.

Today, the fortress hosts exhibitions and events throughout the year. You can climb up to the panoramic terrace and let the views of the sea and the whole of Camogli take your breath away.

Tyrrhenian Aquarium

In the 1970s, after decades of abandonment, the castle was restored and transformed into the Tyrrhenian Aquarium, a precursor to the modern Aquarium of Genoa. It housed marine fauna typical of Camogli’s waters in seawater tanks. Eventually, when the aquarium closed, the marine life was transferred to the Genoa aquarium.

Throughout its history, the Camogli Castle played diverse roles, from a defensive stronghold and meeting place to an aquarium and prison, offering insight into the region’s historical and cultural evolution.

The Castello della Dragonara appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Camogli!

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Visiting Castello della Dragonara


Sunday: 11:00 am-01:00 pm, 05:00 pm-11:00 pm

Monday – Saturday: 05:00 pm-11:00 pm

Address: Castello della Dragonara, Camogli, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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