The castle would appear to be Byzantine as an engraved marble plaque
was found. This, written in Greek Byzantine, stated:
castle was built under Constantine, patrician and strategist of Sicily.
He is thought to have been the Constantine Karamallos who was
commander of Taormina during the 902 siege. When the city fell he
escaped with his fleet back to Constantinople, where he was condemned
to death for negligence. However, he was pardoned and
allowed to become a monk. The plaque is now in the facade of
Presumably the castle had a similar history and
fate to Taormina castle. It also, as a Byzantine castle, should be compared to Aci, Calatabiano, Delia, Eufemio, Rometta and Sperlinga. The castle was apparently Saracen held and surrendered to Count Roger (d.1101) when he took Taormina in 1078.
In 1334, during the reign of King Peter II (d.1342), the hill top was
surrounded by walls and made into a fortress and functional prison, as
was nearby Taormina. A plaque above the entrance arch reads:
Castle faithful to His Majesty - year 1578.
was put up for King Philip II of Spain (d.1598), who was then king of
The castle bears some comparison with Aci castle in being built on a
battleship shaped rock. Its irregular enceinte, about 200'
E-W by up to 50' N-S, is best preserved to the north where there is a
small projecting tower, about 40'x30'. This has a small
triangular annex to the west. Entrance to the ward is gained
via an arch in a barbican at the base of the crag to the
east. This has a rebuilt Romanesque arch of Roman
tiles. From here modern steps lead up the crag to a lower
ward to the SW.
Why not join me here and at other Sicilian
castles? Information on this and other tours can be found at Scholarly
Paul Martin Remfry