Ursino Castle

Catania, Italy

Castello Ursino was built between 1239 and 1250, as one of the royal castles of Emperor Frederick II, King of Sicily. In 1295, during the Sicilian Vespers, the Parliament which declared deposed James II of Aragon as King of Sicily, replacing him with Frederick III, was held here. The following year it was captured by Robert of Anjou but was later again in Aragonese hands.

After the move of the capital away from Catania and the appearance of powder weapons, the castle lost its military role and was used as a prison. It is one of the few buildings in Catania to have survived the earthquake of 1693.

The castle was acquired by the city of Catania in 1932, and it was restored. The Museo civico opened in the restored castle on 20 October 1934. Today, the museum houses artifacts and artwork from the castle as well as the greater geographical area. These items date from the Classical era onward, representing the diverse influences throughout Sicilian history. Frequently, the castle hosts also temporary exhibitions or artistic events (theatrical representations and concerts).

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Details

Founded: 1239-1250
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rock N' Road (10 months ago)
From the outside was really nice. Old historic castle.
Tim Blydenburgh (11 months ago)
Amazing history. The ability to see artifacts thousands of years old and paintings hundreds kf years old was amazing.
Bruno D Galli (12 months ago)
The castle is beautiful, but perhaps more interesting on the outside than on the inside. There is no or almost no information about the castle rooms, the exhibition of sculptures and paintings is very poor and the whole environment has an abandoned appearance and of little interest, some rooms were even with the lighting off, the view from above the single tower that you can climb is nothing impressive. For this price is not worth it.
Sebastian Rosch (2 years ago)
Well preserved castle turned into a museum. Local exhibits from the area. I didn’t find too many interesting things, I was hoping for more historical context of the city and region.
Jan Strach (2 years ago)
I came to visit on weekend but during the Corona time there was no waiting time. The castle is in very good condition. Most of the information in italian. It is a museum now where you can understand a bit the history of Catania throughout the centuries.
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Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.