Castello di Sperlinga: the last stage of the tour to discover the castles of Sicily

castles of Sicily: il castello di Sperlinga

The first stage was Erice, in the province of Trapani. And, after twenty-one imposing fortresses that were witnesses and silent protagonists of hundreds and hundreds of years of history, this is the last stage of the tour to discover the castles of Sicily: the castello di Sperlinga.

 

The history

  • Probably, the castle was built between the late Eleventh century and the early Twelfth century. The Normans built it on the ruins of a pre-existing Arab fortification.
  • The first historical documents that prove the existence of the castle were written in 1080.
  • In 1283, the castle was property of Petro de Alemanno (or Lemanno). The Angevin soldiers of Sperlinga, led by Petro, held out for more than a year during the Aragonese army siege.
  • During the first of the wars of the Sicilian Vespers, the soldiers of Charles I of Anjou took refuge in the castle.
  • From 1324, the castle was property of the Ventimiglia family for more than two centuries. Until, in 1597, Baron Giovanni Forti Natoli bought it from the Prince of Castelbuono Giovanni Ventimiglia.
  • After Ventimiglia, the castle was property of two other important and powerful Sicilian families: Oneto in 1658 and Nicosia in 1862.

 

The castle

Spelunca, in Latin, means “cave, natural cavern”. In fact, part of the castello di Sperlinga was built into the rock. And the parts of the castle still visible today are the ones carved into the rocks: stables, prisons, and forges. Among the structures built on the rock, there are part of the wall, the mullioned window (a national monument), the Prince’s reception room, a chapel, a staircase carved into the rock that leads to the panoramic tower.

 

How to get there

Sperlinga is in the province of Enna. To get there:

  • Take county road 121 to county road 94.
  • From county road 94 take the county road 39 and follow the road signs to county road 19.
  • From county road 19 follow the road signs to state highway 120.
  • Follow the road signs to Sperlinga.

The journey by car takes about one hour.

 

Previous stage: il castello di Gagliano Castelferrato

 

Image source: Di Morgantia07 – Opera propria, Pubblico dominio