Castle of the Counts of Modica

Alcamo, Italy

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.

Architecture

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.

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Details

Founded: 1340-1350
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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