Si Trova: in provincia di Catania
Lat: 37° 52' 58.87849" N - Long: 15° 7' 21.72763" E
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Castiglione di Sicilia is a delightful mountain village perched on a slope with the most important buildings at its peak; it has a territory with a rich historical heritage dating back to different eras and dominations.
Among the most important monuments found in its territory is the "Cuba" of St Domenica: a jewel of the byzantine era located near the Alcantara river.
The present town was born in the 12th century and was called Castel Leone, indicating the "Big Castle" around which the village was born.
It had its maximum splendor after the expulsion of the arabs from Sicily by the normans; in this period there were built the walls and the "Cannizzo": a lookout tower located at the end of the town.
The fortune of Castel Leone continued also in the XIII century, when it beat coin and Federico II gave it the appellative of "Animosa".
In 1283 it was a fiefdom of Admiral Ruggero di Lauria, who chose the place as a summer residence.
When Ruggero di Lauria found himself fighting against the crown of Sicily, when Frederick III reconquered the town, the importance of Castel Leone began to decline, thus losing its state-ownership, and was assigned as a fief to the infant Giovanni, duke of Randazzo , and was renamed Castiglione.
In 1602 Tommaso Gioeni was appointed by the king of Spain Philip III the first Prince of Castiglione.
The birth of the bourgeoisie led to the foundation of beautiful palaces and churches, grouped mostly along the Regina Margherita street, in Lauria square and in St Antonio Abate square.
Some examples are Sardo palace, Saglimbeni palace, Camardi palace, Imbesi palace, the Town Hall, the Benedictine monastery, the St Giovanni di Dio hospital and the churches of St Giacomo and St Antonio Abate.
During its history the town has seen the alternation of famines and periods of relative prosperity, as well as witnessing, in 1943, of the first real Nazi massacre held in Italy, when German soldiers massacred sixteen unarmed citizens without reason and took 200 hostage.
Today Castiglione is a charming town, which with its typical houses, its culinary art and its hospitality has become part of the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
What happened in Sicily: 23 September
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