Medieval castles in Sicily

Poira Castle

Poira Castle was built in the Middle Ages to the site which was inhabitated already in Greek and Roman ages. Today it is ruined with some remains.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Paternò, Italy

Oliveri Castle

Oliveri Castle was built first by the Arabs in the 11th century and later enhanced by Normans. Today the castle is a private building and it is not possible to visit its interior.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Oliveri, Italy

Castle of Ventimiglia

The castle of Ventimiglia is an ancient four towers castle which was built at the end of the 14th century by the Ventimiglia family on the top of Mount Bonifato near Alcamo. Enrico Ventimiglia, the son of Guarnieri Ventimiglia whom he succeeded to, declared that he had this castle built on Mount Bonifato as a protection from possible attacks. According to different interpretations, the castle, instead, would date back to ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Alcamo, Italy

Castello di Mongialino

Castello di Mongialino was first time mentioned in the mid-12th century by Muslim geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi. Later it become a feudal castle of Normans and their descendants. Today it is ruined, but the massive keep exits quite well-preserved.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Mineo, Italy

Serravalle Castle

Serravalle Castle was built in the 13th century and enlarged probably in the 16th century. The stables and other annexed buildings were added in the 19th century. Today the castle exterior is one of the best preserved in the Eastern Sicily.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mineo, Italy

Inici Castle

Inici Castle in Monte Icini mountain existed maybe already in pre-Roman age. The current structure dates mainly from the 11th century. In the 17th century it belonged to Jesuits, who enlarged the site. Later the castle has been restored as a residence and in 1960 there were still 60 people living on it. It was abandoned in 1968 after been damaged by earthquake.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Castellammare del Golfo, Italy

Castle of the Naselli d'Aragona

Il Castle of the Naselli d'Aragona is one of the most important historical buildings in Comiso. The probable construction of the castle took place around the 12th century, thanks to the testimony of several documents from the 13th century which mention its presence. It remained the residence of the noble Naselli family for a long time until, in 1693, the devastating earthquake. Architecture Although a large part of the ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Comiso, Italy

Bivona Castle

The first reliable evidence of feudalism in Bivona dates back to 11 October 1299, when Robert of Anjou, the King of Naples, granted the castles of Bivona and Calatamauro to Giacomo de Catania. The castle mentioned in this decree was probably a watchtower which had been built as part of the walls of Bivona around the time of the War of the Sicilian Vespers. Eventually, the castle began to be built in the first half of the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Vibo Valentia, Italy

Fortino di Mazzallakkar

The Fortino di Mazzallakkar is a ruined Arab fort in Sambuca di Sicilia. It is located near Lago Arancio, and is partially submerged by its waters for six months of every year. The Fortino di Mazzallakkar was built by the Arabs in around 830 AD, possibly to defend the territory around Sambuca di Sicilia, which was then known as Zabut. The fort was still in good condition until the mid-20th century, and it was used as a ...
Founded: 830 AD | Location: Sambuca di Sicilia, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Luxembourg Palace

The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.

The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.

In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.

During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.

Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.

The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.

During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.