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

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.