The Spanish fortress known as El Morro, south of Santiago, was constructed between 1638 and 1700 and was designed by Giovanni Antonelli, the Italian architect and engineer responsible for fortresses bearing the same name in both Havana and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dominating a bluff at the entrance to the Bahía de Santiago de Cuba, El Morro was built to ward off pirates (and rebuilt after a 1662 attack by the English pirate Henry Morgan). Inside you'll find a museum with exhibits on, appropriately enough, pirates. Signage is in Spanish only, but English-speaking guides can lead you around. (Tip them, of course.) There are wonderful views from interior rooms, which have wooden floors and stone walls, as well as from various terraces. From the lowest terrace, the view of the fortress itself, formed from the sheer face of the bluff, is powerful. The way into the structure takes you down and then back up a 207-step staircase; a drawbridge over a moat leads to the entrance. You'll find little shade here; sunscreen and a brimmed hat are musts. Midday gets unbearably hot. Visit early in the morning or late afternoon if your schedule permits. An impressive flag-lowering, cannon-firing ceremony winds up the day, and that makes a good case for a late-afternoon visit.