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:
Tyniec Benedictine abbey was founded by King Casimir the Restorer probably around 1044. Casimir decided to rebuild the newly established Kingdom of Poland, after a Pagan rebellion and a disastrous Czech raid of Duke Bretislaus I (1039). The Benedictines, invited to Tyniec by the King, were tasked with restoring order as well as cementing the position of the State and the Church. First Tyniec Abbot was Aaron, who became the Bishop of Kraków. Since there is no conclusive evidence to support the foundation date as 1040, some historians claim that the abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer’ son, King Boleslaw II the Generous.
In the second half of the 11th century, a complex of Romanesque buildings was completed, consisting of a basilica and the abbey. In the 14th century, it was destroyed in Tatar and Czech raids, and in the 15th century it was rebuilt in Gothic style. Further remodelings took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Baroque, then in Rococo style. The abbey was partly destroyed in the Swedish invasion of Poland, and soon afterwards was rebuilt, with a new library. Further destruction took place during the Bar Confederation, when Polish rebels turned the abbey into their fortress.
In 1816, Austrian authorities liquidated the abbey, and in 1821-1826, it was the seat of the Bishop of Tyniec, Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler. The monks, however, did not return to the abbey until 1939, and in 1947, remodelling of the neglected complex was initiated. In 1968, the Church of St. Peter and Paul was once again named the seat of the abbot. The church itself consists of a Gothic presbytery and a Baroque main nave. Several altars were created by an 18th-century Italian sculptor Francesco Placidi. The church also has a late Baroque pulpit by Franciszek Jozef Mangoldt.