In 1539, the Emperor Charles V issued orders to demolish the old princely stronghold dating from the Middle Ages, and to build a new fortress, with cutting-edge techniques of military architecture. The construction was entrusted to Gian Giacomo dell'Acaya, general engineer of the Kingdom of Naples. The outer part was built between 1539 and 1549. In 1872 was filled the moat that surrounded it and eliminated the lifts of the two doors: "Royal Door", which presently only allows access, and the "False Door" (or "Relief") on the back, which is the most developed and the most fortified, to counter the dangerous attacks that came from the nearby coast of the Adriatic Sea. To make way for the imposing mass of the Castle was demolished the Celestine Convent with the Church of St. Croce, later rebuilt in Via Umberto I, and the elegant palace of which few traces remain, incorporated in the central building: the Convent in the Northeast, the tower on the far left in the courtyard, and the "Severed Tower" placed to the southwest. The Castle was not only defensive functions: in the eighteenth century, one of the rooms was used as a theater. From 1870 to 1979, the Castle was the barracks of military district. On 30 April 1983, the Military Administration gave the Castle to the City of Lecce, which now uses it as the headquarters of the culture and center for cultural activities. The first floor of the Castle, North-West and South-East areas, is used for keeping events, promote cultural initiatives and realize exhibition routes.