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

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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.