Castles of Sicily tour: welcome to forte spagnolo di Portopalo

castles of Sicily: forte spagnolo di Portopalo

It’s the point where the two seas meet. And it’s the next stage of the tour to discover the castles of Sicily: it’s the forte spagnolo (“Spanish fort” literally) of Portopalo di Capo Passero.

 

The history

  • The so-called forte spagnolo of Portopalo di Capo Passero is a Swabian-Aragonese fortress: presumably, its construction took place between the Twelfth century and Thirteenth century.
  • Originally, its structure was very simple. Over the centuries, the fort was repeatedly strengthened and enlarged. Especially during the reign of Charles V in the Sixteenth century.
  • The fort was built on Capo Passero island as a bulwark against the devastating pirate raids.

 

The castle

The forte spagnolo of Portopalo di Capo Passero is among the most important east Sicily castle: it’s a square-plan building built on a 20 meters high plateau and there are few windows in its walls.

A long staircase leads to the castle entrance: on the top of the entrance there’s a limestone coat of arms representing the imperial eagle. The upper floor housed the lodgings of the soldiers. In the parish church, as confirmed by some gravestones, probably the dead were buried during the Seventeenth century.

 

How to get there

During a vacation to Catania, the forte spagnolo of Portopalo di Capo Passero is a good idea for a pleasant excursion. To get there from the city near Etna:

  • Take the A18 motorway to Noto
  • From Noto, take the county road 19 to Pachino
  • From Pachino, take the county road 21 to Portopalo di Capo Passero

The journey by car takes about 2 hours.

 

Previous leg: castello Maniace | Next leg: Donnafugata

 

Image source: Di Azotoliquido – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0

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