5th century BC
Hiero of Syracuse, who came to the aid of the Cumaeans in the war against the Tyrrhenians in 474 BC, built a first village in the Castle.
4th century BC
In 315 BC, the Romans founded, the city of Aenaria at the foot of the castle, replacing the ancient city of Pithekoussai and extending from the beach of Cartaromana to the current Cathedral of Ischia Ponte. Even though there is no definitive evidence, it is clear that the Romans used the Castle as a defensive fort and built houses there.
2nd century AD
Following the eruption of the Montagnone (150), Aenara ceased to exist and the subsequent lowering of the soil isolated the Castle from the rest of the island. From this point on, the Castle was referred to as "Insula Minor" (Small island) to distinguish it from Ischia "Insula Major" (Big island).
5th-6th century AD
The sudden and disastrous barbaric invasions (410, 574 the Lombards) besiege the island and the Castle is chosen by the Ischians as an ideal retreat.
8th century AD
The Saracens' raids led to death and destruction on the Island of Ischia, but they failed to storm the Castle.
12th century AD
In 1137, Ischia and the Castle came under Norman rule by the hand of Prince Ruggero II.
In 1194, Henry VI of Swabia conquered Ischia and the Castle. During the Swabian domination the Castle completely lost the exclusive characteristics of a military fortress and became the headquarters of the Island's institutions and the residence of the noble families.
13th century AD
In the following years, there were battles between the Swabians and the Angevins, then later between the Angevins and the Aragonese which, tragically, involved the Castle and the whole island of Ischia. On the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Aenaria, the Angevins built their port, which reached its greatest splendour following their definitive victory in 1299. The Angevins were the first to build a bridge between the Castle and the insula major and to build Maschio Angiono on the highest part of the island which was then wonderfully strengthened and enlarged by Alfonso of Aragon in the first half of the '400s.
14th Century AD
The crater of Mount Trippodi (eastern side of Epomeo) awakened (1301) and the resulting flow of lava destroyed a large area between the current church of St. Peter at the port of Ischia and the Church of St. Anthony of the Friars Minor. The Ischians took refuge in the Castle and turned it into a true town, erecting the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Many noble families settled in the Castle and built magnificent palaces there. Among the families, was that of the Baldassare who became Antipope John XXIII born to the Giovanni Cossa family.
15th century AD
In 1423, Alfonso of Aragon besieged and conquered the Castle. With its kingdom, the Castle assumed a dual function: a stronghold in times of war, and a royal residence in times of peace.
With the Aragonese domination, the Castle reached its greatest splendour under the careful and enlightened guidance of Constantine d'Avalos and Vittoria Colonna.
Among all the families who followed the King of Naples, the most important, noble and valiant in weapons and literature was certainly the Avalos, who governed the Castle for two centuries.
16th century AD
On 27 December, 1509, the ancient Cathedral of the Castle hosted the solemn wedding of Vittoria Colonna and Fernando d'Avalos, Marquis of Pescara.
Vittoria Colonna spent 35 years of her life on the Castle, dedicating herself to literature and poetry, and created a distinguished literary coterie around her charismatic presence, which includes poets such as Bernado Tasso among its members.
This was the greatest period of splendour for the fortress: some sources refer to the presence of 1892 fires (families).
In 1541, Costanzo d'Avalos, governor of the Castle and beloved chatelaine of Ischia, died. In 1547, Vittoria Colonna also died in Rome.
17th century AD
With the end of the long and difficult Aragonese history, the Castle first came under Spanish rule and then Austrian: little is known of the political events that affected the Castle at this time.
In 1637, the Castle had only 250 inhabitants, including the Poor Clares. The decline of the Castle's population was due to the political stability achieved and the pressing need to find new land to cultivate: the Castle was an excellent military defence tool, but it was completely inadequate for meeting the daily needs of its inhabitants in times of peace; the Ischians spread across the island to manage their farming and fishing activities more directly and efficiently. The nobles and public institutions were probably the last to abandon the Castle.
In 1655, a terrible plague contributed to the depopulation of the Castle. Even Carlo Gaetano Calosirto, later known as Saint John Joseph of the Cross, patron saint of the island of Ischia, contracted the illness and miraculously healed himself in the place where the chapel dedicated to him stands today (along the pedestrian access tunnel) and where a celebration is held in his memory on the anniversary of his death 5 March.
18th century AD
In 1737, the Spanish resumed possession of the Island and the Castle. In the first few decades of the century, only a few public buildings remained, such as the Maschio, used as a military fortress and a prison for common criminals, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Episcopal building and the Poor Clare's St. Mary of the Consolation Convent.
In 1770, the number of inhabitants of the Castle decreased to 63.
Following the Bourbon restoration, shortly after the birth of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799, the Castle became a political prison.
19th century AD
In 1809, there were violent clashes between the Anglo-Bourbon and French forces; the damages were so vast that the Castle was forced to surrender after a heroic resistance. Bourbon soldiers occupied the Castle for a few days and then inexplicably abandoned it again. Those harsh attacks only served to reduce the Castle to a pile of rubble.
With Gioacchino Murat's edict of secularization on 7 August, 1809, the 16 surviving Poor Clare nuns were forced to leave the Castle.
In 1817, the Fortress, no longer capable of defensive functions due to its precarious condition, was used as a residence for old retired soldiers.
In 1823, Ferdinand I transformed the Castle into a place of punishment for convicts, and in 1825, his son Francis I turned it into a prison for common crimes.
In 1851, the prison was transformed into a place of punishment for political prisoners, including Michele Pironti, Carlo Poerio, Nicola Nisco, Silvio Spaventa and others who opposed the power of the Bourbons.
With Garibaldi's entry into Naples in 1860, the political prison was abolished and Ischia joined the Kingdom of Italy. The Castle buildings became part of the state's heritage and the farmland was entrusted to the military orphanage to make best use of it.