The castle would appear to be of Byzantine origin.  As early as July 1145 a knight called Pain Bussema witnessed a grant.  This would suggest he was lord of the castle.  Certainly by 1154 Edrisi mentions a fortress in a wood.  Thirty years later in 1186 Buscemi is described as a land, while in 1229 Frederick II (d.1250) granted it to Matthew Calvello.  After the fall of King Manfred in 1266, King Charles (d.1285) granted the fortress to Admiral William Olivier.  With the 1282 rebellion the castle passed to Napoleon Cattaneo and the lordship was asked to send money and troops to King Peter (d.1285) in his camp at Randazzo as he campaigned against the Angevins around Messina.  In 1296 the fortress was sacked during the rebellion of Giovanni Callaro.

After the peace of Caltabellotta in 11302 the castle was given to Henry Ventimiglia (d.1308).  His son William Ventimiglia of Buscemi was holding the place a little before 1330, while other members of the family held the important castles of Castelbuono, Roccella, Sperlinga and Vicari.  In the mid fourteenth century the Angevins retook the castle of Buxeme, but it was retaken in 1359 by Artale Alagona of Aci.  The castle was damaged by the earthquake of 1542, had a large stable built on the site in 1604 and was then all but destroyed in the great earthquake of 1693.  By 1757 it was in an advanced state of ruin, but in 1765 the eastern part of the site was converted into a convent, which has since fallen into ruin.

The castle occupies a long ridge site, at least 500' east to west and 200' north to south.  It lies at the south end of a plateau on which the town of Buscemi stands.  Towards the east end of the castle crag is a rectangular convent about 100' square.  West of this is another rectangular enclosure about 120' east to west by 100' north to south.  West of this again is another, slightly smaller, rectangular enclosure.  These nearly butt against the south wall of the presumably older fortress, of which the west walls are best preserved.  Unfortunately most of the remains are now merely impressive fragments.

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