Castle of the Counts of Modica in Alcamo was mentioned for the first time in a diploma dated 1391. The construction of the castle was started by the Peralta family at about 1340 and was finished in 1350, under the feudatories Enrico and Federico Chiaramonte; it was a mansion and a defensive structure until the 16th century. If equipped with munitions and food, it could resist for a month anda a half, quartering 30 companies of soldiers.
In 1392 king Martino and his wife were hosted in the castle after the Chiaramontes' defeat, and on September 1, 1535 the emperor Carlo V, during his return from his Tunis victory, lodged in one of its towers with his court and the infanta Eleonora d'Aragona.
In 1534 the castle was attacked by the Islamic pirate Barbarossa. From 1583 and until 1589 it had three restorations.
Since 1828, further to a sentence by Trapani Law Court, Alcamo municipality came into possession of the castle and in the following years it was used as a seat of municipal offices, prison and stable. In 1870 there was another restoration. After the last restorations (made between 2000 and 2010), it has been used as the seat of the Ethnographic Museum and of the Historical Regional Vintage Wines Stock.
The castle has a rhomboidal shape, with a nearly rectangular courtyard. At the corners there are four battlemented towers (two square and two circular shaped), each of them with a particular function, that is:
In the square and highest one they tortured prisoners. The square and lowest one was reserved to sentinels and one of the circular towers was used to give hospitality to distinguished guests.
On the castle sides there are double and triple lancet windows of Gothic-Catalan derivation. Originally it had three doors, placed on the south, west and north sides.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.