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Agrigento Palermo
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Enna Trapani
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   Principal Sicilian Tourist Itineraries

Castles itinerary in the Sicilian Provinces

Fortresses built to defend, they now conquer us with their proud beauty...

The Sicilian Literary Parks

The magic of Sicily in the pages of the Sicilians...

Arts and Popular Traditions itinerary

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CASTLES ITINERARY
Home Page > Castles itinerary > Castles itinerary in the Province of:
Trapani Palermo Messina
Siracusa Ragusa Agrigento
Caltanissetta Enna    
Catania
:: Fortresses built to defend, they now conquer us with their proud beauty

Fortresses built to defend, they now conquer us with their proud beauty. With their bold turrets and spectacular halls, it is hard to resist the fascination of a medieval castle. Experiencing this emotion presents no difficulty in Sicily. The island's very nature as a bulwark between Europe and the Mediterranean has inevitably made it by definition a land of castles - there are some two hundred, built by the Swabians and by noble families such as the Chiaramontes and the Ventimiglias. Today many of the castles that centuries ago were impregnable fortresses have lowered their drawbridges to let visitors make a journey back into time and rediscover this fairytale aspect of the Middle Ages.

 

 

 

Norman Castle of Erice Carini Castle Sea castle (Palermo) Caccamo Castle Castelbuono castle Montalbano Elicona Castle Milazzo castle The Citadel of Messina Scaletta Zanclea Castle Norman Castle of Aci Castello Ursino castle (Catania) Fort of Vittoria (Augusta) Maniace castle (Syracuse) Spanish Fort (Portopalo di Capo Passero) Donnafugata castle Falconara castle (Gela) Naro castle Favara castle Racalmuto castle Mussomeli Castle Lombardia castle (Enna) Sperlinga castle Gagliano Castelferrato Castle Paterṇ castle Adrano castle

 

 

Castles itinerary in the nine Sicilian Provinces

 

CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF TRAPANI
 Norman Castle of Erice
If one wishes to relive the pomp and splendour of medieval days, one has to climb almost so high as the clouds up to Erice, an ancient town of Phoenician origin, where everything has remained as it was.

 


CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF PALERMO
 Carini Castle
A double murder that at the time touched public opinion and caused great scandal, passed down to posterity in a little poem in Sicilian dialect entitled "The Bitter Case of the Baroness of Carini" - has consigned to popular legend the name of this castle.

 Palazzo Steri (Palermo)
Building on the palace began in 1307 with the Chiaramonte family, one of the wealthiest and most powerful in the Aragonese period. It belonged to Andrea, the last descendant, who was executed on 1 June 1392 opposite the entrance to the building.

 Caccamo Castle
Built in the Norman period, perched high on a steep rocky spur, this castle of the Chiaramonte family is without a doubt one of Sicily's most important, most evocative, and best conserved feudal fortresses, apart from being the biggest.

 Sea castle (Palermo)
Built by the Arabs, this was a fortified castle inside the city itself, in an area now adjacent to the quays of the port. One of Palermo's most ancient constructions, it was the favourite  residence of Frederick II during his sojourns in Palermo.

 Castelbuono castle
The construction of this castle began in 1316, by order of Count Francesco I of Ventimiglia, over the ruins of the ancient Byzantine town of Ypsigro, high on the San Pietro hill. Hence its original name, "Castello del buon aere" ("Castle of good air").



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF MESSINA
 The Citadel of Messina
The Citadel, now reduced to a few derelict and tumbledown bastions, was built by the Spaniards in order to repress and keep under constant control any popular uprisings by the population of Messina.

 Montalbano Elicona Castle
Montalbano Castle, in the Nebrodi Mountains, was part of Frederick II's plan to provide Sicily with a system of "strong points" defending the whole territory. Constructed in its present form between 1302 and 1311, it played a leading role in the control of the valley.

 Milazzo castle
The peninsula of Milazzo, stretching out towards the Aeolian Islands, has always been one of the most important harbours in Sicily. There was a stronghold here under the Romans and then under the Arabs. 

 Scaletta Zanclea Castle
Originally, in the 13th cent., this castle was a Swabian military outpost of Messina, no distance away. Later, in the 16th cent., it belonged to the Marchese family, eventually passing to the Ruffo family, who until the 17th cent. used it as a hunting lodge.



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF CATANIA
 Ursino castle (Catania)
The name Ursino comes from the Latin "Castrum sinus", i.e. "castle of the gulf" - originally it stood high above the sea, but as a result of the lava flow caused by the eruption of Mount Etna in 1669 it is now some hundreds of metres from the coast.

 Paterṇ castle
Among the numerous monuments left by the Normans all over Sicily, one of the most important is certainly Paterṇ Castle, a majestic parallelepiped-shaped construction 34 metres high that towers above the underlying town.

 Adrano castle
Tradition has it that this castle was founded by Count Roger, father of Roger II, who in 1070 freed Adrano from Arab domination. Evidence of an original Arab construction can be seen in the two doors on the ground main floor that connect the two great halls.

 Norman Castle of Aci Castello
Built of black lava stone, this Norman fortress stands atop a spur of rock high above the cobalt-blue sea, just outside Catania. Owing to its strategic importance, it has been a fortified strong post since Roman times, when this was the site of the Rocca Saturnia.



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF SIRACUSA
 Maniace castle (Syracuse)
Maniace Castle is an absolute must for anyone interested in military constructions. It stands on the tip of the island of Ortygia, where it was built in the first half of the 13th cent. by Frederick II's trusty architect, Richard of Lentini, who also designed Ursino Castle in Catania.

 Spanish Fort (Portopalo)
At Portopalo, by the sea, one can still see traces of the old tuna fishery, with its yard, its loggia, the factory with its furnace, the warehouses, the house of the owners (the Bruno di Belmonte family), and this aristocratic family's chapel, built in the 17th cent.

 Fort of Vittoria (Augusta)
A small, construction with a square tower at each corner, the Fort of Vittoria was built by Frederick of Swabia in the second half of the 14th cent. Over the centuries, and particularly under the Spanish domination in the 16th cent., a number of structural modifications were made..



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF RAGUSA
 Donnafugata castle
As one proceeds along the road from Ragusa to Santa Croce Camerina, one can admire Donnafugata Castle, an imposing construction immersed in one of the most evocative carob woods in the whole province, the scene of famous films including an episode in "The Jar" in the film Kaos, directed by the Taviani brothers.

 


CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF AGRIGENTO
 Racalmuto castle
Racalmuto, an agricultural town founded by the Arabs before the year 1000, spread around the castle of the Chiaramonte family in the period following the Norman conquest. The fortress was built in the days of the barony of Robert Malcovenant, a Frenchman in the service of Roger de Hauteville.

 Favara castle
EBuilt in the 13th cent. by the Chiaramonte family, this construction is of particular interest because it represents the transitional phase between castle and palace. The Palace, as it is in fact commonly called because of the square arrangement of its various parts, recalls the typical lay-out of the Swabian castles.

 Naro castle
The first definite mention of the castle dates back to the time of the War of the Sicilian Vespers, when the French soldiers stationed here were killed and their bodies were displayed on the walls of the stronghold. Built by the powerful Chiaramonte family, for which reason it is referred to as the Chiaramontan castle.



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF CALTANISSETTA
 Mussomeli Castle
Of the 200 fortresses in the entire island of Sicily, indubitably the most inaccessible and most impregnable of all is Mussomeli Castle. A masterpiece of 14th- and 15th-cent. military architecture, it was built by Manfredi III Chiaramonte, one of the four deputies who governed the island during the reign of Queen Mary in the 1370s..

 Falconara castle (Gela)
IOriginally this was a tower granted in 1362 to the Santapau family of Butera that subsequently passed to the Princes of Branciforti, finally becoming the present-day Falconara Castle. In the last two centuries in particular it has been variously modified with a view to enlarging and embellishing it, leading to the result one now sees today.



CASTLES IN THE PROVINCE OF ENNA
 Lombardia castle (Enna)
A castle within a castle - that is how the impregnable Lombardia Castle presents itself, with its pentagonal plan and square towers, rising on the mountain that stands above Enna, a regal fortification divided up by a series of inner yards and walls that form three distinct courts.

 Gagliano Castelferrato Castle
The name "Castelferrato" was added to Gagliano in 1862, because the town is dominated by a fortified castle, locally known as the "iron castle ("castello ferrato"), that stands on the top of a crag some 650 metres in altitude - the Rocca, the enormous mass towering high above the houses.

 Sperlinga castle
This fortress stands on a rocky crag in the Nebrodi Mountains that is riddled with caves - its name comes from the Latin "spelunca", meaning a deep, dark, natural cavern. Sperlinga Castle, built around 1082, makes full use of the rock base it is built on, consisting as it does both of rooms dug.

 
 

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