Castles of Sicily tour: the castello normanno of Aci Castello

castles of Sicily: castello normanno di Aci Castello

An ancient fortress that rises on the banks of the wonderful sea of Sicilian east coast. Its story is made of battles and conquests. In other words, the castello normanno (“Norman castle”) of Aci Castello is the next stage of the tour to discover the castles of Sicily.

 

History

  • The area where Aci Castello rises had a great strategic importance since Roman Era: here Rocca Saturnia (“the fortress of Saturnia”) was built.
  • After the victory of Normans upon Arabs, Ruggero di Altavilla conquered the castle in 1072.
  • The castle, after the Norman conquest, was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. It was finally rebuilt by King Tancredi in 1189.
  • Granted to the bishops of Catania, in 1126 the castle received the relics of St. Agatha, brought back in Sicily from Constantinople.
  • The eruption of Etna in 1169 did not spare even Aci Castello: the rock on which the castle was built was partially damaged.
  • From the late Eighteenth century, the castello normanno was the silent witness of the fights between the Aragonese of Sicily and the Angevins of Naples.
  • Become private property, the castello normanno of Aci Castello was used as a prison until 1787.

 

The castle

The castello normanno of Aci Castello was built with lava stone. It stands on a rocky outcrop that overlooks the sea. Today, a tower and the main building are the only parts that remain of the castle. But the real peculiarity of the castle is the view that can be seen from the top.

 

How to get there

Aci Castello is in the province of Catania. To get there from Catania, just take the state highway 114 towards north and follow the road signs to Aci Castello. The journey by car takes about 20 minutes.

 

Previous leg: cittadella di Messina | Next leg: castello di Paternò

 

Image source: Flickr.com/photos/leandrociuffo