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 (16 months ago)
From the outside was really nice. Old historic castle.
Tim Blydenburgh (17 months ago)
Amazing history. The ability to see artifacts thousands of years old and paintings hundreds kf years old was amazing.
Bruno D Galli (18 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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The castle was damaged by fire several times. It was turned into a harsh prison and the building slowly deteriorated. During the 19th century, the family of Fürstenberg became the owners of the castle and had it reconstructed after a fire in 1826.

Today the castle serves as a museum, tourist destination and place for theatrical exhibitions. Collections of hunting weapons, Gothic paintings and books are stored there.