The castle was probably built by the Mazzarino family, although little is known of them.  A Manfred Mazzarino had acquired Migaido castle in 1200 and presumably he was called such as he held the vill and possibly Mazzarino castle.  In 1287, King James (1285-95) seized the castle from Giovanni Mazzarino, the son of a Manfred Mongialino, who had been accused of treason.  The next year gave it to Vital Villanova and
before 1292the town and castle were purchased by Stephen/Raffaele Branciforti.  In 1296 the fee of Mazzarroni was held by John Lancia.  He rebelled the same year and was executed 2 years later.  Presumably the castle returned to royal control with his rebellion.  After this the castle became the westernmost outpost of the county of Carsiliato when this was created for Richard Passaneto in 1301.

As the castle appears thirteenth century in design it seems unlikely that it was built before the reign of Frederick II (d.1250).  As such it should be compared with fortresses like Augusta (destroyed), Maniace and Frederick's Tower at Enna.

The castle stands on a hill north of the town and forms a rectangle about 120'x100'. It would appear to have had a round tower at each of the corners, with that to the southwest being the largest at some 25' diameter, the other 3 appearing little more than turrets at about 12' diameter.  This design is similar to the castles of Nunney in England and Ferns are Carlow in Ireland as well as Castel di Lucio.

Entrance to Mazzarino castle was gained from the west via a hole in the wall gate which has largely vanished.  Internal buildings lined the enceinte, but these too are mostly gone.  The surviving southwest tower is of three storeys and the remaining fragment of west wall still has some battlements.  The fossilised battlements to the south indicate that the wall here was raised.  Surrounding the castle on its south side are traces of a low outer ward or mantlet.  This is somewhat similar to that found at the thirteenth century Caerphilly and Harlech castles in Wales.

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


Copyright©2019 Paul Martin Remfry