Colombaia Castle

Trapani, Italy

According to several historical documents, the fortifications in Colombaia island were built first time around the 260 BC, During the first Punic war. The Roman army tried several times to conquer this island, succeeding only in 247 BC, although they left it shortly after and left the territory totally in disuse, with the Castle of the Dovecote which quickly became a nest of doves that would have given way to the pagan worship of the goddess Venus Ericina, who sees his sacred animal in the dove. The arrival of the Arabi in Sicily allowed the Castello della Colombaia to finally find a new function, as it was used as a Lighthouse, being able to illuminate the seas and reactivating one of the most important military buildings until recently.

The arrival of the Aragonese in Sicily it was very important for the Castello della Colombaia, since, seeing its geographical position and the incredible advantages that it could have guaranteed, they decided to completely rebuild this military building, making it decidedly larger and more equipped than the first historical building. The works carried out by the Aragonese are still visible, as it is the same building that has come down to the present day. The Colombaia Castle was also one of the main fortifications during the reign of Charles V, as it allowed to spot and fight any incursions by pirates who intended to attack the Trapani coast. The expansion works also continued in the following centuries, with renovations that continued until the seventeenth century.


The Colombaia Castle is tall well 32 meters articulated on 4 floors, each of which was used for particular functions. The entrance was only possible from the second floor, which is why the Colombaia Castle is thought to have been equipped with a drawbridge. The structure is very large and consists of a shape octagonal, inside which there are small streets that connect the various buildings, which include the guard post, two docks, chapels and courtyards.



Your name


Trapani, Italy
See all sites in Trapani


Founded: 1280
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Giuseppe Riela (2 years ago)
The Dovecote is one of the symbols of the City of Trapani. 32 meters high according to historical sources, they would like it somehow linked to the Trojan exiles (11th century BC the central nucleus was built around 260 BC by Amilcare Barca during the first war punica in 241 BC war won by the Romana fleet.The famous Rostro that allowed the Roman fleet to win battle of the Egadi, one is exposed to the Pepoli Museum of Trapani. With the victory of the Romans over the Carthaginians, the fortress was abandoned, becoming a huge knot of doves, animals sacred to Venus Ericina.Ricostrued by the Aragonese in the Middle Ages, around 1400 it was strengthened and destined, under the reign of Charles V to. to defend Trapani from Barbareschi pirates. outside, it was the subject of further interventions by the viceroy Claudius Lamoraldo, prince of Ligny.In X1X.secolo the Bourbons la.trasformano in prison and there were imprisoned Sicilian patriots, among them Michele Fardella, baron of Mokarta, who then in 1861 would have become mayor of Trapani. . .
Marco Pilato (2 years ago)
La Colombaia is one of the cornerstones of the Trapani area. It can be visited during the Colombaia Day, often in spring.
Miky Marki (2 years ago)
One of the treasures of drills. The sea castle dates back to 260 BC Medieval fortress located on a small island near the port of Trapani. It can be reached by boat on very few occasions during which the views are open. A suggestive scenario opens up to visitors' eyes. The management of the dovecote has been assigned to a company for its recovery. The project involves the construction of a museum center in the part of the tower and tourist-cultural activities in the warehouse area.
Sabrina Cafieri (2 years ago)
For the inhabitants of Trapani it is a symbol, we had the opportunity to visit it as part of the exhibition of the streets of treasures, an excellent initiative to visit Sicilian works with expert guides. Unfortunately the castle will be closed in November to make it a resort, but at least the inexorable ruin will stop. From the top you can enjoy a magnificent panorama
Berend Van Geffen (2 years ago)
Not worth visiting if possible at all. Unless you like fishing.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.