Medieval castles in Sicily

Forza d'Agrò Castle

Forza d"Agrò Castle was built in 11th century to the 420m high hill. Since 1876 it has been surrounded by a graveyard.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Forza d'Agrò, Italy

Adrano Norman Castle

Castle of Norman origin (Castello Normanno) is located in the centre of Adrano, built in 1070 on behalf of Norman king Roger I. They probably built the keep on the ruins of a pre-existing Muslim fortress at this site. Its purpose was to ensure control over a large portion of the surrounding Etna area. Inside the castle is the archaeological museum with antique findings of the region.
Founded: 1070 | Location: Adrano, Italy

Cefalù Castle

Cefalù Castle lies on the mountain above the town of the same name. The top of Cefalù Rock was already inhabited in ancient times as the remains of a temple with megalithic stonework attests. Under Byzantine rule the settlement on the mountain developed into a real town, with the consequent partial depopulation of the town center below. In the years 837-838 Cefalù withstood a first attack of the Muslims. After a new si ...
Founded: c. 1063 | Location: Cefalù, Italy

Montalbano Elicona Castle

The Montalbano Elicona Castle is considered as one of the most beautiful monuments in Sicily. It was built in the 12th century by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II on pre-existing byzantine and Arab walls. The intent of Frederick II was to provide Sicily a series of strong defensive buildings around the island. The well preserved extensive walls of the castle are easily seen throughout the town. From on top of the Vall ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Montalbano Elicona, Italy

Brucoli Castle

The Aragonese Castello di Brucoli was built in the 15th century as a watch tower to guard the coast and monitor and protect against Turkish-Barbarian raids. It underwent several additions and alterations in the following centuries, e.g walls with circular towers at the corners were added in the 16th century. The Castle of Brucoli dominates much of the Gulf of Catania and was therefore used as a watch and guard post in th ...
Founded: 1468 | Location: Brucoli, Italy

Schisò Castle

Schisò Castle, which overlooks the bay of Giardini Naxos, was originally constructed in the 13th and 14th centuries. It was rebuilt in the 16th century, with a military observation tower added which served to patrol Cape Schisò and the bay against raids by Barbary pirates who were led by the Turkish corsair Barbarossa Kheir-ed-Din to plunder the many small coastal fishing villages on the coast south of Port Schisò. Wit ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Giardini Naxos, Italy

San Nicola l'Arena Castle

San Nicola l"Arena Castle was built in the 13th century to protect the town agains pirates. Today it is a well preserved example of medieval castle with three watchtowers.
Founded: 12th century | Location: San Nicola l'Arena, Italy

Castle of the Counts of Modica

Castle of the Counts of Modica in Alcamo was mentioned for the first time in a diploma dated 1391.  The construction of the castle was started by the Peralta family at about 1340 and was finished in 1350, under the feudatories Enrico and Federico Chiaramonte; it was a mansion and a defensive structure until the 16th century. If equipped with munitions and food, it could resist for a month anda a half, quartering 30 compa ...
Founded: 1340-1350 | Location: Alcamo, Italy

Motta Sant'Anastasia Castle

The Tower of Motta Sant"Anastasia was built between 1070 and 1074 by the will of the Count Roger of Hauteville. The massive tower with a rectangular plan, with a base of about 21.5 by 9 by 17 metres, is about 21 metres high and is a typical defensive structure of the early Middle Ages. The roof terrace retains almost intact battlements. The structure consists of three elevations. Only the first of these is still the ...
Founded: 1070-1074 | Location: Motta Sant'Anastasia, Italy

Salemi Castle

The castle of Salemi is one of the best preserved castles in Sicily. Inside, the library and the resurgence museum are housed. The castle has Norman origins and dominates the town with its trapezoidal shape and square, 20 meters high, corner towers, and a cylindrical tower. The castle was built by Norman King Roger around 1077 to the site of Roman-Arab fort. Frederick II altered it in the 13th century. In 1441, on Decem ...
Founded: c. 1077 | Location: Salemi, Italy

Carini Castle

Carini Castle was erected between the late 9th and early 12th century, certainly on a previous Arab construction, by the first Norman feudal lord Rodolfo Bonello, warrior in the retinue of Count Roger. The excavations carried out during the recent restoration, both in the east and in the north, they have surfaced walls of earlier times to the Norman. The castle has a large courtyard, where there is the residential struct ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Carini, Italy

Naro Castle

The Castello di Naro was built on top of a hill in the 14th century by the Chiaramonte family. The complex includes walls with battlements, a square tower built by Frederick II of Aragon and the imposing "mass of the male". On the east side there are two mullioned Gothic windows that illuminate the great "Hall of the Prince", which is located on the first floor of the tower. The portal is flanked by tw ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Naro, Italy

Maredolce Castle

The origins of the Maredolce Castle are unknown. Some scholars tend to attribute the foundation of the castle to the emir Ja"far al-Kalbi (998-1019), believing that it was built over a pre-existing structure. Other scholars believe that the castle dates back to the Norman era, although others consider that just the lake of the Favara Park was realized in the age of the Hauteville dynasty. The first documents regardin ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Palermo, Italy

Lauria Castle

 The Lauria castle in Castiglione di Sicilia was built by Roger of Lauria. It dates back to the 12th century.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Castiglione di Sicilia, Italy

Castello Normanno

The Castello Normanno ('Norman Castle') in Paternò was built in 1072 by Count Roger I of Sicily to protect the Simeto valley from Islamic raids. The first nucleus of the fortress was soon enlarged, and it subsequently lost its original military functions. Under Henry VI it was made the seat of the Count of Paternò, assigned to his fellow Swabian Bartholomew of Luci. Later the castle housed kings and quee ...
Founded: 1072 | Location: Paternò, Italy

Torre delle Mandre

Torre delle Mandre was probably built when Sicily was under the Crown of Aragon in the 15th or 16th centuries. It was mentioned first time in documents in 1557. The tower was purposed to protect area against Maghreb pirates.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Altavilla Milicia, Italy

Montechiaro Castle

The Castle of Palma de Montechiaro was built in 1353. It is the only castle of the Chiaramonte family that is situated at the seaside, on a cliff known as the Bay of the Sirens. It was founded by Frederick III Chiaramonte, then transferred to his successors Manfredi II, I and Andrea, who beheaded him. His possessions were seized and the ownership of the castle was transferred to the family Caro, who erased the memory of t ...
Founded: 1353 | Location: Palma di Montechiaro, Italy

Sant'Alessio Siculo Castle

Sant"Alessio Siculo Castle was built by the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Comnenos in his war against the Normans and the Arabs, who also held it. It was extended during the Norman era in the 12th century. In 1535 it was are residence of King Charles V Habsburg during the Conquest of Tunis. The castle consists of two towers on different peaks.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Sant'Alessio Siculo, Italy

Castello Svevo

Castello Svevo ('Schwabian castle') was erected in 1232 when the older Norman watch tower was extended. It was built to protect Sicily from the coastal raids. The bastions were added in the 16th century. Today the castle is dilapidated and not open to public for security reasons.
Founded: 1232 | Location: Augusta, Italy

Grifeo Castle

The Grifeo Castle in Partanna is the well-preserved example of medieval castle built along the western part of Sicily. It was built in 1076 by Roger II  against Arabs. The castle has been designed by the architect Perbono Calandrino who characterised the building with amazing towers and gardens. It was a home of the Princes Grifeo for about nine centuries. Today the castle is a museum that displays lots of ancient master ...
Founded: 1076 | Location: Partanna, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

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Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.

Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.

The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.