Casa Armonia B&B: Via Armonia, n° 9
89812 Pizzo Calabro (VV) - Italy
Ph. e Fax 0963 533337 - ph. 0963 534183


Built in the late XV century by Ferdinand 1st of Aragon, Pizzo’s castle has two cylindrical corner towers, the larger of which, called the mast tower, has Angevin origins (around 1380).
The huge quadrangular body, with casemates and ground floors, descends perpendicular to the cliffs overlooking the sea on one side and was surrounded by a moat on the other side, whose drawbridge and door, located between one of the round towers, to the western side, and the corner, provided access to the castle. The fort also had communication passages that led out of the city, and was built to defend the coast from the  Barbary pirates and “ad manutenendos cives in fide”.
When the “territory of Pizzo” passed from the House of Aragon to the House of Sanseverin and was confiscated from the latter in 1504 for treason, it was given to Don Diego de Mendoza, the Spanish General; and from him, it was inherited by the House of Silva, a member of which was the Duke of the Infantado, who preserved all the rights and privileges until 1806, when, by Decree of King Joseph Napoleon – the feudal system, and consequently all of its property rights and prerogatives, was abolished.
After the Law abolishing the Feudal system, the property rights to the castle were often the subject of disputes between the Town Council and the Military Corps. It was occupied by the Government, who used it as a barracks and a prison.
The Italian Government then handed it over to Pizzo’s Town Council, preserving only a part of the castle which – by a Decree dated 3rd June 1892 – was declared a “National Monument”.
It was damaged by an earthquake in 1783, which destroyed its upper rooms; these were rebuilt in 1790 by the Ducal Administration.
Nowadays, parts of the castle have fallen into ruin, although the building has managed to retain its original appearance.
An event took place within the walls of the castle that – in the words of A. Dumas – made Pizzo become “one of the Homeric stations of the Napoleonic Iliad”.

Joachim MURAT, king of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte, in a desperate attempt to regain the kingdom of Naples, set ashore in Pizzo on Sunday 8th October 1815, with the aim of rallying the population against Ferdinand IV of Bourbon

But the attempt failed. Joachim and his small party were overwhelmed and imprisoned in the castle, where, 5 days later, following a brief trial, the king was condemned to death by the Military Commission set up by the Bourbon Government. He faced his imprisonment and the judgment to which he was swiftly subjected, with pride and great dignity, that he preserved right up to the end, fully honouring his reputation as a man of courage and extraordinary valour on the battlefield. The man who had been the hero of Abukir and Moscow, fearlessly faced his death, execution by shooting half an hour after the sentence. 

A noble letter written to his wife and the memory of the pride with which he wanted to command the firing squad are the sole reminders of the last seconds of his life. He had to order the soldiers, who were frightened and overcome by the situation, to shoot twice before he eventually fell, shot to death by seven bullets.
His body, transported to the Mother Church of St George the Martyr, and was buried in a common grave, in the centre of the church, where a tombstone pays tribute to the name and the memory of a King, who, in an epigraph written by the Count of Mosbourg, “knew how to win, knew how to reign, and knew how to die”.