The castle would appear to be Byzantine as an engraved marble plaque was found.  This, written in Greek Byzantine, stated:

This 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 Castelmola cathedral. 

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.

Presumably this was put up for King Philip II of Spain (d.1598), who was then king of Sicily.

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 Sojourns.


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry