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