Lat: 37° 33' 15.69809" N - Long: 15° 8' 58.10369" E
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Admire it from the road that descends from Ficarazzi towards Acicastello, observe it from Acitrezza, or from the same promenade of Acicastello: from any point you look at it, and at any time, it is still beautiful; the black Norman Castle of Acicastello, entirely in lava stone, stands on a promontory of lava rock overlooking the sea.
It was separated from the mainland by a stretch of sea that was completely filled by the 1169 eruption.
The castle was built by the Normans on a first construction built by the Byzantines in the 7th century AD, which in turn was built on a pre-existing fortification of Roman period, perhaps from 38 AD.
At the center of the fortress there is a quadrangular tower.
Only a few surviving structures remain: the access, which preserves the remains of the drawbridge system, the courtyard where there is a small botanical garden, various environments, including those where the museum is housed, a chapel and a large panoramic terrace overlooking the opposite bay.
On 17 August 1126 the Bishop of Catania received in this castle the relics of St Agata, very dear to people of Catania, brought back to their homeland from Constantinople; in one of the rooms some traces of a fresco that recalls the event are still visible.
In 1353 here died King Ludwig of Aragon, only 17 years old.
In 1402 King Martino the Younger made the castle his home together with his wife, Queen Bianca of Navarre.
From the mid-sixteenth century the castle was first used as a barracks and then as a prison.
It also suffered the damage of the earthquake of 11 January 1693.
Since 1985 it is open to visitors and home to a small and interesting Civic Museum which consists of three sections: mineralogy, paleontology and archeology.
As for the rock on which it stands, this originated from a pre-Etna basaltic marine volcanic eruption (over 500,000 years ago); the rock is covered by a glassy crust divided inside into prisms; compositions due to the presence of sand and clay in the original seabed and by the sudden cooling of the magma in contact with the sea water.
This type of composition is extremely rare and there are very few other examples all over the world.
What happened in Sicily: 23 September
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