Castel Sant'Angelo

Licata, Italy

Castel Sant'Angelo, also known as Forte Sant'Angelo, is in good condition and is open to the public. It is located on the top of Monte Sant'Angelo, overlooking the city to the north and its harbour to the south. Several archaeological sites, including remains of a Hellenistic settlement, can be found in the area.

The first fortification to be built on Monte Sant'Angelo was a watchtower, which was constructed between 1583 and 1585 on the orders of Viceroy Marcantonio Colonna. The tower was designed by the military engineer Camillo Camilliani.

In 1615, Hernando Petigno, the general commander of the Royal Cavalry of Sicily and Military Governor of Syracuse, began building a fort on the site, incorporating the tower as the fort's keep. Construction was halted, but it was resumed in 1636 and completed in 1640 under the direction of Serpione Cottone, Marquis d'Altamura.

The fort never fired its guns in anger, and was decommissioned in the 19th century. It was a telegraph station between 1849 and 1856. In the early 20th century, it became a lighthouse. It was severely damaged during the Allied invasion of Sicily on 10 July 1943, when it was bombarded by USS Brooklyn and USS Buck. The damaged parts of the fort were later repaired.

The lighthouse in Castel Sant'Angelo closed in 1965, and the fort was abandoned. Today, the fort is in good condition and is open to the public.

The fort has a triangular shape, with the 16th century tower serving as its keep. The fort is built in the Baroque style, and it includes a central courtyard, barracks, stables and warehouses. Access to the fort was only allowed through a drawbridge over a moat. The fort also contained a chapel, but this no longer exists.


Your name

Website (optional)


Via Semaforo, Licata, Italy
See all sites in Licata


Founded: 1583-1640
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.