The castle of Arena was built by the Norman king Roger I the 11th century, to protect the pass of Berra and to defend the dominions on the Tyrrhenian side of the greenhouses against the risk of potential attacks from the eastern side, where Byzantines and Arabs had important positions.
The administrative and military control of the feud of Arena was entrusted to the Conclubet family, which for over 600 years was confirmed in power by the different dominations that succeeded one another in Calabria ultra, to which the Acquaviva dukes took over in the sixteenth century.
The ruins of the castle, substantially destroyed by the earthquake of 1783, preserve the Norman architectural structure, with large perimeter walls and the main building in the shape of a quadrilateral.
At the corners of the quadrilateral there are four partially preserved towers, belonging to different periods during which the castle underwent various technical – defensive adaptations.
Thus, in the Angevin age, the original quadrangular towers with smooth shoe of the Norman tradition, were replaced on the eastern side by high towers with a circular base and grooved shoe, the latter aimed at increasing the results of the so-called “plumbing defense” technique. increasing the range and lethality of the projectiles launched from the walls. Just the grooved shoe base is a constructive rarity since the typical Angevin tower had a smooth shoe.
On the western side, the Norman towers were modified only in the Aragonese period, when the development of artillery made it necessary to lower and strengthen them.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.