Castello Maniace: a white fortress in the heart of Ortigia

castles of Sicily: castello Maniace

You are visiting Ortigia, one of the most beautiful places of Sicily. Walking along the ancient streets of this architectural jewel, you will surely notice an austere and imposing fort that overlooks the sea of Syracuse. That’s castello Maniace, new stage of the castles of Sicily tour.


The history

  • The castello Maniace was built in Thirteenth century by Frederick II. The architect of the castle was Riccardo da Lentini.
  • The origin of the castle’s name was the Byzantine general that defended Ortigia against the attack of Arabian pirates in 1038.
  • The earthquake of 1693 damaged the castle. After the earthquake, the castello Maniace was rebuilt in Baroque style.
  • In the Sixteenth century, an imposing ring of bastions was built around the castle.


The castle

The castello Maniace was built at the end of Ortigia Island. The castle is immediately recognizable thanks to the white color of its walls. One of the most beautiful parts of the fort is the Islamic-style portal: decorated with polychrome marbles, the coat of arms of Charles V is on the top of the portal.

The impressive interior of the castle consists of a single room with twenty-five spans supported by slender columns. Today, cultural events take place in Piazza delle Armi.


How to get there

Visit Ortigia and castello Maniace is a good idea for a pleasant excursion during your vacation to Catania. To get there from the city near Etna:

  • Take A18 motorway towards Rosolini
  • Take the state highway 124 towards Syracuse
  • Follow the road signs to Ortigia

The journey by car takes 50 minutes.


Previous stage: forte Vittoria | Next stage: forte spagnolo di Portopalo


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