The castle is thought to be Norman, with settlers from Liguria arriving with Adelaida Vasto Savona (d.1118), the mother of King Roger (d.1154).  However it is thought the castle may date back to the Saracen period or earlier. 

Before 1250 Galvano Lancia (d.1268) claimed the county of Butera though the inheritance of his mother, who would appear to have been Bianca Maletta (d.1215+).  Peter Ruffo of Messina (d.1256+), acting as virtual ruler of Sicily and owing allegiance to the pope, refused the order of Prince Manfred (d.1266) to turn Butera and the other castles including Aidone over to him.  In 1254 Peter Ruffo was expelled from Sicily, but the Sicilians under the influence of Messina refused to accept the regent, Manfred.  In 1256 a civil war began with Palermo supporting the regent.  Consequently in the summer of 1257, after the surrender of Messina, only Aidone, Piazza Armerina and Enna continued in their resistance.  Frederick Lancia, the royalist Marshall of Sicily and brother of Galvano, then marched on the rebels.  After crushing Piazza Armerina and being lenient to the defenders, the men of Aidone asked and were received in surrender.  Presumably the castle was then passed to Galvano Lancia, but passed to King Charles (d.1284) after his victory against King Manfred in 1266.

A little before 1330 it was recorded as being held by Russo Rosso of Messina (d.1342), the lord of Noto.  By 1411 it was held by the widowed, White Queen Bianca of Navarre (d.1441).  After her death it became a prison, before being destroyed by the earthquake of 1693.

The castle, just north of the town, stands on a ridge end site some 3,000' above sea level.  It occupies a vaguely rectangular site with a section possibly quarried away to the northwest.  The ruins are too sketchy to be certain of its original plan and there appears to be little or no flanking.  The best remaining section of wall to the east contains a gap which appears to mark a simple hole in wall type gateway.  Next to this the rubble wall has possibly been rebuilt at some point.  To the south the masonry appears of better quality and has fine quoins.

Why not join me at other Sicilian castles?  Information on this and other tours can be found at Scholarly Sojourns.


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry