Castles in Sicily, royal history and curiosities

Castles in SicilyHave you ever imagined living a day as a king or queen? It sounds like a dream… Well, unfortunately we cannot you turn into a member of the royal family but can definitely make you discover some beautiful castles in Sicily. Are you ready for this unusual trip with Sicilian Secrets?

Sicily is a land full of traditions characterized by many different heritages left by several populations who lived on the island. From the Normans to the Arabs and the Bourbons, what an incredible mix! Let’s find out some castles in Sicily that nowadays we can visit.

Caccamo Castle (PA)

This castle is located in Caccamo, in the province of Palermo and is one of the best preserved Normam castles in Sicily. It was built in the 12th century on a steep cliff and during the centuries was modified many times according to the tastes and the needs of the owner. This building has a lot of rooms but the main one is the so-called Sala della Congiura, the Conspiracy Hall. According to history, in 1160 some Norman barons met here to plot against William I of Sicily. It is also considered one of the best examples of medieval architecture on the island, inside it keeps many treasures the perfectly describes the richness and the power of the families who housed in it.

Castles in Sicily
Caccamo Castle

Lombardy Castle (EN)

Don’t be confused by the name! This castle is in Sicily, in Enna to be precise.  It is one of the most ancient buildings in Italy and the oldest fortress on the island, moreover it is the symbol of the city. Its origins date back to the 1st millennium BC when Sicani founded the ancient Henna. This castle belonged to the Romans and after the Western Roman Empire, was used by the Byzantines and the Normans. Now you are maybe wondering why it is called ‘Lombardy Castle’, well…listen! During the Norman Age, Frederick II asked to add some towers and called in a Lombard garrison…here is the reason of the name. Today, there’s a community called Lombards of Sicily speaking a variety of Gallo-Italic dialects, very peculiar.

Castles in Sicily
Lombardy Castle

Donnafugata Castle (RG)

One of the most famous castles in Sicily is Donnafugata Castle, in the province of Ragusa. Maybe you have already heard about this building because of the legend of Queen Blanche of Navarre (15th century). She was the widow of King Martin I of Aragon and was chased by the Count Bernardo Cabrera, who wanted to marry her. So, she decided to stay hidden in this castle until it was taken under siege by Cabrera, at that point she ran away (in Italian ‘fuggire’, so Donna = Woman + Fugata) and was hidden in the Steri Palace in Palermo. Who knows!

Castles in Sicily
Donnafugata Castle

For sure, we can say that the current building (the one we can see nowadays) was built in the 19th century but the original castle dates back to the 14th century. A huge park surrounds Donnafugata Castle, and the coolest detail is a labyrinth inspired to the one of Hampton Court in London. Because of the beauty of this place, the castle was used as a set for movies and TV series such as Tale of Tales directed in 2015 by Matteo Garrone and the famous show Inspector Montalbano.

Ursino Castle (CT)

They call it Castello Svevo di Catania, but everybody knows it as Ursino Castle. It is located in Catania and was built in the 13th century. It was the royal castle of the Kingdom of Sicily but above all, it was the seat of the Sicilian Parliament. When the role of capital city was moved to Palermo, this castle had a period of decline, but in 1932 was restored and turned into the Museo Civico that nowadays houses artifacts and artwork from the castle, events and temporary exhibitions. This castle has some special…tenants. People who work inside are sure that some ghosts live at Ursino Castle! Weird phenomena happen almost on a daily basis, especially in the night. Creepy enough?

Ursino Castle
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