Thursday, March 19, 2009

Castello Ursino


It only took me four and half years, but I finally got to see the inside of Catania's Castello Ursino. The interior is a museum of sorts, although the randomness of the collection make it hard to say what it is supposed to be. Nonetheless, the architecture of the interior just by itself is quite interesting, and old, old, old! Originally, it was on the sea, but the centuries of destruction and rebuilding of Catania have changed the shoreline so much that now it is nowhere near the water!

The castle was built in 1239-50 by Riccardo da Lentini for Frederick II. It is a unique square castle with four matching towers at the corners and a full moat. It has been used as a royal residence, the seat of parliament, and a prison. Primarily, though, it was defensive, part of a whole string of castles that included Motta, Paterno', and Adrano, all very close to me. This one, though, is the most impressive and best-restored of them. You can't imagine anyone penetrating its walls.

There are a few interesting details like a mysterious five-pointed star (a supposed occult sign) and a carved eagle with a lamb in its claws, the symbol of imperial power.

It's just beautiful to walk around the entire structure, which is surrounded on all sides by a pretty buildings and a piazza, and then to do the same on the inside. In a city of Baroque and Roman architecture, this is an interesting medieval diversion.

Go HERE to see more photos.

6 Comments:

At March 22, 2009 6:40 PM, Blogger Betsy said...

Hi there! Matthew said that it survived the lava flow because of its deep moat. The lava filled the moat and spared the castle!

 
At June 02, 2009 3:53 PM, Anonymous Pierre said...

Thank you for this very interesting post and for sharing some fine photos of the Catello Ursino. I've really enjoyed browsing and look forward to your future posts.
Greetings from Cape Town,
Pierre

 
At November 30, 2010 3:33 PM, Anonymous etnadoc said...

before the lava the castell was by the sea.now it is about 500 meters from the sea

 
At January 12, 2011 1:51 AM, Anonymous EFT Manual said...

I had a wonderful time reading this post! It's very interesting and the photos are great.

 
At March 22, 2011 5:31 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

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At April 19, 2011 3:42 PM, Anonymous Sicily tour said...

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