In 1087 Guastaliella was a Muslim fortress that fell to Count Roger Hauteville (d.1101) after his successful siege of Agrigento.  The castle appears to have been retained by the Crown, or was reoccupied when the Muslims rebelled against the pope at the end of the twelfth century during the minority of Frederick II (d.1250).  In 1220 Bishop Ursone of Agrigento was captured by the rebel Muslims and held captive at the castle.  The fortress probably fell to Frederick as he crushed the various Muslim revolts soon after this.  The castle was later infeudated so that Bartholomew Montaperot was lord of Guastanella in 1305.  The fortress was still in existence in 1355 and in 1392 King Martin I granted the land to Count William Raymond Moncada of Adrano and Agosta (d.1398), but it was returned that same June.  The fortress was last mentioned as such in 1558.

Monte Guastanella at 2,000' dominates Santa Elisabetta some 2 miles to the east.  The castle lies above a small cave and 2 rock carved tombs from the Bronze age and occupies the summit of the long ridge of the mountain.  Precipitous drops make the fortress only approachable from the north.  The ruins are much denuded, but seem to show a rectangular structure about 80' long by 25' wide.  There may be a rectangular keep filling the width of the structure, but this is only about 25' by 15' deep.  The walls throughout seem about 4' thick.  Within the enceinte are 2 cisterns, one with a barrel vault, the other rock cut.  There are traces of other internal structures with walls only some 2' thick.  The flimsiness of this Arab castle should be compared with the stronger works at Entella and Calatafimi, as well as other, stronger hill castles in similar positions like Calatamauro and Calatrasi.

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


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