Castello a Mare

Castello a Mare is a heavily ruined castle above Palermo port and is in poor condition.  The castle was occupied on 9 March 1161 when knights from the fortress sallied forth and killed eunuchs and Muslims fleeing from the king's palace as it fell to an assault by rebels and prisoners.  A few years later the castle's constable was Robert Calatabellota, who was friendly to the eunuchs and enjoyed tormenting Christian prisoners.  In 1169 Messina rumour had it that King William II had been struck down by the Chancellor Stephen Peche (d.1169) and that Prince Henry was besieged in Mare castle with a few loyal knights.  Obviously the castle, rather than the Norman palace, was seen as the main defence in Palermo.  In 1190 it was described as a former palace which checked the lashings of the waves by walls armed with a large number of towers (Falcandus, A Letter...., 258).  Like Caen castle in Normandy, it was badly damaged by bombing in the Second World War.

There are traces of the Norman keep and a partially rebuilt gatehouse amongst other foundations and seventeenth century gunworks.

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


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