Calatubo Castle

Alcamo, Italy

The origins of the Calatubo Castle date back to some years before 1093, the year in which Roger I of Sicily defined the boundaries of the diocese of Mazara that included 'Calatubo with all its dependencies'.

In ancient times, around the castle there was the village of Calatubo, which based its business on the extraction of stones for water and wind mills from the quarries around the creek Finocchio, as mentioned by the Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi in The Book of Roger, written in 1154.

The village of Calatubo was abandoned after the conquest by Frederick II and the castle lost its original function as a military fortress, turning into a farm. During this period, the castle joined warehouses, stables and other structures used for the administration of the agricultural fief of Calatubo.

Since the Middle Ages, because of its visibility, the Calatubo Castle had an important strategic role: it was part of a line of towers and forts along the coast from Palermo to Trapani; this defensive line was used to transmit light signals in case of Saracens' attack. In particular, the castle of Calatubo guaranteed the flow of information that took place between the outposts of Carini, Partinico and Castellammare del Golfo.

At the end of the nineteenth century in the second courtyard some warehouses were set up for the production of the wine 'Calatubo'.

The castle remained in good condition until the 1968 Belice earthquake. The use of the structure as a sheepfold and illegal excavations, which had as their targets the finds of the necropolis of the seventh century BC pertaining to the castle, have further ruined the castle. In 2007 it was bought by the municipality of Alcamo and over the past few years.


The Calatubo Castle is actually an architectural complex, consisting of the structure of the original castle that has undergone several changes over the centuries. This complex is large 150×35 meters and stands on a limestone rock that lies at an altitude of about 152 m above sea level and that dominate with its height the surrounding area. From the position of castle you can clearly see Mount Bonifato and the Gulf of Castellammare.

The castle is inaccessible on three sides due to the steep walls of rock on which it is built. The only practicable access is located in the west, which leads to the first line of defense of the castle via a ramp with large steps. From the first line of defense, which includes among other things a well, a church hall and other premises, you can arrive at a court which communicates with the second circle of walls through a portal, up to the third circle of walls, which comprises an oblong tower. Finally the core of the castle, located in the southern part of the fortress, is rectangular with an area of 7×21.50 m.



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Founded: 11th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Diana Martin (8 months ago)
The website says it opens at 9am on Sunday. It’s wrong, opens at 10am. We are from USA. We speak a small amount of Italian. Our guide is a retired doctor who spoke decent English. We would recommend this site. It’s so cheap to see. We bought a 10 pass ticket in Alcamo for 18e. No extra charge for the guide. The road is aweful to get there. But to see something built around 1093, it’s so amazing.
Monica Artale (11 months ago)
Unfortunately I have to write a bad review, absolutely not because of the castle which already looks beautiful from afar, clearly visible from the highway and which has certainly undergone some restoration operations, but because of the difficulty of reaching it. Sunday 28 May we tried to reach it without success... The road sp132, coming from Partinico, was extremely rough and with the presence of several piles of waste abandoned everywhere; with great difficulty we reached the country dirt road. The panorama here is beautiful, but once we left the car about 500 meters from the castle, we had the misfortune to find sheep (let's imagine for the 6-7 pm time slot, perhaps for milking?!), from whose enclosure located before castle a group of Maremma came out and chased us with a very aggressive attitude, luckily they managed to reach the car not far from there
Otiv (3 years ago)
I don't think there is anyone who lives between the provinces of Trapani and Palermo who has never seen this Castle (what remains of it) from the highway. The spirit of the various associations that support its restoration and push for a more appropriate use is admirable. Fascinating for its location and history
Gaetano Lipari (4 years ago)
Beautiful place to visit, it deserves a nice refurb
Miha S (4 years ago)
View of this castle is very good from highway passing by very close. Looking great
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