The Judges, the Pisans, the Genoese, the Aragonese, the Malaspina and the Doria families built dozens of fortresses to defend their dominions on the island, and Castle of Burgos is the one with the richest historical memories and legendary tales. It takes its name from the pretty village at its foot, but it is also known as the Castle of Goceano, the historical territory that the fortress dominates from 650 metres above sea level. Perched on a cliff at the foot of Mount Rasu, completely isolated and visible from afar, practically impregnable, it once controlled the territory. Today it exudes a charm linked to the Sardinian Middle Ages, to court life and battles, assassins and betrayals, nobles and sovereigns, charming women and unscrupulous bandits.
The majestic structure was built around 1134 at the behest of Gonario I of Torres. It consists of triple boundary walls, made of granite and stone blocks, covered with bricks and compacted with mortar. At the centre of the courtyard rises the two-storey main tower, which is 16 metres high and has no merlons or corbels. In the courtyard you will find the entrance to an underground compartment, a large plastered and barrel-vaulted cistern for rainwater. To the north of the tower you will see the remains of a series of rooms, probably rooms for troops and servants.
It has always been considered one of the best protected manors. So secure that in 1194, during the rivalry between the judges William of Cagliari and Costantine of Torres, the latter sheltered his wife Prunisenda there, leaving only a small army to garrison her. William surprised and attacked the sparse army near the baths of Benetutti. He took the castle and imprisoned the queen, whom he ravished and took to another fortress where she died. It is said that William's soul wanders among the ruins of the fortress at night, pursued by flocks of birds and pleading for the queen's forgiveness. In 1233 the fortress was the scene of another crime. Barisone of Torres had retreated there. Ubaldo Visconti, who coveted the judicature, had him killed by assassins. The widow Adelasia, a woman of rare beauty, married Enzo, son of Emperor Frederick II, so that he could have the title of King of Sardinia. Adelasia, abandoned by her new husband who had been taken prisoner, voluntarily retired to the castle, where she died in 1259. She was the last female judge of Torres and, according to popular tales, on nights when there is a full moon she wanders among the towers.
At the end of the 13th century, the castle came into the hands first of the Doria family, then of Ugone Judge of Arborea, who fortified it and easily defended it against the Pisans (1324). A few years later, the Aragonese came into play: King Alfonso confirmed Ugone's possession of the castle and later appointed his son Mariano Count of Goceano, assigning him the territory and fortress, which remained in the power of the Arborea until after the death of the judge Eleonora. It then passed definitively to the Aragonese, who further strengthened its defences. After a few decades, now in disarray, it was occupied by the bandit Bartolo Manno, a cruel and cunning man who wreaked havoc in the area with other rogues, demanding dues and bounties. Marquis Cubello of Oristano attacked him, barricading him inside the walls, where Bartolo was treacherously killed by his companions. The last story dates back to 1478: Antaldo d'Alagon and the Viscount of Sanluri took refuge there twice, after losing the battle of Mores and after the much harder defeat at Macomer. Before the final surrender, they resisted the Aragonese siege inside the fortress for over a year. Shortly afterwards the castle was abandoned and, although in 1516 it was still described as being in good condition, the work of time got the better of it: in 1901 records speak of a ruin. Today, when a golden veil of dust thickens around the walls at dawn and dusk, glories and legends come back to life.