The castle of Julius II is a jewel of the Renaissance military architecture and the symbol of the village of Ostia Antica. Despite its importance, the castle, located at about one hundred meters from the entrance of the famous archaeological site of Ostia Antica, is often overlooked by tourists. The few who arrive within the walls of this enchanted place, however, must stop in front of a closed door: the castle is in fact inaccessible from 2014. Ilaria Iacoviello, a journalist of the TV News Sky TG24, has interviewed representatives of several local organizations about this problem, including Maria Rita Bertoncini, an archeologist and official tour guide who is part of the team of the cultural association “L’Info-Attiva di Ostia Antica”.
You can watch the interview clicking HERE.
The village experienced its glory days in the late 15th century, when cardinal Guillaume D’Estouteville, bishop of Ostia and Velletri, ordered the construction of three rows of houses (still inhabited) and of the church of S. Aurea (designed by Baccio Pontelli). In front of the church, cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, future pope Julius II, built the castle (1483-1487), incorporating the tower built by pope Martinus V in 1420 in defence of the Tiber.
With the creation of the new Ostia Antica Archaeological Park (September 1st 2016), which includes the archaeological sites of the Imperial harbours of Claudius and Trajan and the Necropolis of Portus (both located in the town of Fiumicino), the castle has been assigned to the competence of the Polo Museale del Lazio. The next few months will be decisive to see if and when the castle will be accessible again.