Calatamauro


The castle, or at least the site
, 2 miles west of Contessa Entellina, would appear to be a Byzantine foundation with a seventh century mosaic of the Madonna and child having been retrieved from the fortress.  As such the castle probably passed from them to the Arabs and then the Normans.  In 1154 it was recorded by Idrisi that Manzil Sindi was nine miles from Qal at Mawru.  Later in 1182 King William II (d.1189), when he listed the lands of Monreale abbey, noted the road which went to Kalatamauru.  Possibly this was the fourth castle still loyal to King William III when he surrendered in December 1194, if is the fortress noted as Calatamet.

As a castra exempta of Frederick II (d.1250) it possibly played a part in the reduction of the Muslim rebellion, centred as it was on the nearby fortress of Entella.  Calatamauro castle was later acquired by the Angevins, for at the time of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, the people of Palermo and Corleone confederated ‘to destroy the castle of Calatamauri'.  It was not recorded as holding an Angevin garrison for
King Charles (d.1285).  Therefore it can be assumed that the attack of Spring 1282 ended the castle's occupation.  In 1520 it was noted that the remains of the fortress lay in a wood called Castellano.  However, there is a possibility that the castle may have been used by the Spiritual Franciscans who took up residence at Calatamauro in 1308.

Description
The castle stands on a spur of rising rock 2,500' high and is about 300' E-W and about 70' N-S at its widest.  It lies above the sheer S&W faces of the hill.  To the north is a crag which appears to mark an inner ward and was guarded by a wall up to 6' thick and reinforced by 6 quadrangular towers.  Possibly this is Byzantine and bears similarities to other early castles as noted under Aci

At the eastern extremity of the site is a powerful rectangular tower.  The apparently hole in the wall entrance lay just NW of this tower and entered a narrow ward with the main castle at the SW corner of the enclosure.  Two burials have been excavated along the outer curtain here, one of which was possibly a still birth. 

The inner ward is protected by the main curtain wall, up to 6' high and a large rectangular tower, which was probably the keep and contains a vaulted cistern in its ground floor.  Further buildings lay on the ‘safe' south side, protected by this keep which was reached via a rock cut stair.



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


 

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