Castles of Sicily: Castello a Mare, a history that began long ago

Castles of Sicily: Castello a Mare

The history of the Castello a Mare (literally, “castle near the sea”) of Palermo, one of the most peculiar castles of Sicily, began long ago. And it was very troubled. Despite this, the castle stands still today, silent witness of thousand years of vicissitudes.

  • It was built in the Ninth Century, during the Arab-Norman domination.
  • Its structure changed many times over the centuries: it was repeatedly restored and extended.
  • He experienced its heyday in the Sixteenth Century, when it became the residence of the Viceroy of Sicily.
  • Antonio Veneziano, an eminent Sicilia poet, died here in 1593 due to the explosion of a powder keg.
  • After this period, Castello a Mare became the headquarters of the Sicilian Inquisition.
  • In the Bourbon period, it had a purely defensive function. The castle became famous for being the stage of the anti-Bourbon initiatives that ended in the blood of the insurgents.
  • During the uprising of Palermo, the castle was one of the points from which the city was bombed. After the departure of the royal troops, it was partially dismantled.
  • During Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Castello a Mare was restored and modernized, experiencing a kind of second period of splendor. That lasted until the reign of Francesco II in 1860, when it was attacked and largely demolished by the population.
  • In 1923, during the improvement of the port of Palermo, the castle was demolished with dynamite. It suffered further damages during World War II.

The final restoration Castello a Mare began in 2009, when it became the centre of Parco archeologico del Castellammare. Today, the area consists of two main parts:

  • The main tower
  • The archeological site

Castello a Mare is easy to reach from the port of Palermo.


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Image source: “Castelloamare” di Giuseppe Tucci – Per questo file non è stata specificata nessuna fonte. Per favore modifica questa pagina di descrizione e cita la fonte.. Con licenza CC BY-SA 3.0 tramite Wikipedia

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