Ortigia Island excusion

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The Castle of Frederick II in Syracuse, later called Maniace, was built between 1232 and 1240. The first documents on its foundation are the letters that Federico sends November 17, 1239 from Lodi to his subordinates connected to the construction of the Castle, in which Emperor welcomes the diligence with which Riccardo da Lentini prepositus aedificiorum follows the castrum nostrum Syracusie and reassures him that his request pro munitione castroum nostrorum Syracusie et Lentini quam etiam pro Serracenis et servis nostris necessarium frumentum, ordeum, vinum, caseum, companagium, scarpas et indumenta has been turned over to the treasurer of Messina, who will provide as soon as possible to supply it with everything needed.
Notice how the emperor uses the terms Serracenis and servis nostris, referring to the workers in the building site: the Saracens, "skilled technicians" were regularly salaried, while the servants did not. In 1240, when the exemplary castra fall under the imperial jurisdiction, the Castle of Syracuse is counted among them. We know the names of two Swabian castles of Syracuse: Riccardo Vetrani and the faithful Giovanni Piedilepre, to whom a degree of Manfredi of 13 August l263 refers.
Under the Angioinians the Castle became a royal patrimony, recorded in 1273 by a commission of inquiry that speaks of a Castrum Siragusie. The war between the Angevins and the Aragonese for the dominion of the Kingdom sees the opposite Castle in defense of the city.
For almost the entire fifteenth century the Castle is a prison. In 1448, after a splendid banquet held in the halls of the Castle, Captain Giovanni Ventimiglia had all the guests killed, accused of treason. For this prodigal gesture he obtains from the king Alfonso of Castile as a gift the two bronze rams that adorned until that day the façade of the Castle.
At the end of the sixteenth century, in the most general plan of fortification of the city, Castello Maniace became a nodal point of the city walls, designed by the Spanish military engineer Ferramolino. In the mid-seventeenth century further fortified works include works in the Castle, of unknown entity. On November 5, 1704, a furious explosion took place in the powder keg. Crosses and limestone blocks are launched within several kilometers.
In the following years the reconstruction was prepared, which left the parts damaged by the explosion intact, while the buffers were created for the construction of warehouses. In the Napoleonic age, the castle relives with military functions and is equipped with cannon-type mouths. In 1838, to protect the movements that were unleashed throughout the kingdom, the Bourbons of Ferdinand raised a casemate.
The Castle is delivered to the Kingdom of Savoy and used until the Second World War as a deposit of military material. Currently it is being restored.
The name of Castello Maniace derives from Giorgio Maniace, a Byzantine general who in 1038 reconquered the city for a short time by the Arabs and brought two Hellenistic bronze rams as a gift, which were then placed at the entrance of the Swabian castle, which improperly kept its name of the condottiere.
As well as the castles of Bari, Trani, Barletta, Brindisi, Augusta and Catania, Castello Maniace is located on the coast, dominating the sea on one side and the city on the other. It stands on the extreme tip of Ortigia, at the mouth of the Porto Grande in a very important strategic position where, over the centuries of the city's long history, military settlements have always been present.

Private tourist agency that deals with boat trips around the island of Ortigia and along the coast of Syracuse | info@ortigiaislandexcursion.com

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