The Castello di Caccamo is among the largest and best preserved Norman castles in Sicily, and one of the largest in Italy. The castle is built on a steep cliff.
The castle as it is today was built by Matthew Bonnellus in the 12th century. It was later modified by the Chiaramontes in the 14th century, and by other rulers until the 17th century.
Caccamo castle is a large structure built of white stone, having an irregular plan. It has walls with V-shaped battlements, towers, a moat and a courtyard. The interior consists of a maze of rooms and stairways.
The most notable room within the castle is the Sala della Congiura, also known as the Conspiracy Hall. In 1160, some Norman barons met in this room to plot against William I of Sicily, but the rebellion failed.
The castle was inhabited by descendants of the Dukes of Caccamo until it was purchased by the Region of Sicily in October 1963. By this time, the castle was in ruins. Restoration work funded by the Region of Sicily began in 1974.
Today, the castle is open to the public. A restaurant called A Castellana is located on the ground level of the castle, while other parts of the structure are also used for conferences and meetings.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.