Migaido castle lies 2½ miles south of Pettineo.  If it had any early history it is obscure, although Manfred Maletta of Paterno held the district in the late 1290s when he rebelled against Frederick III (d.1337).  In 1331 it was described as some motte built near the hamlet of Pettineo (quandam mottam in territory dicti casalis edificatam Pectinei), though quite what this meant is open to question.  In 1354 Migaido was recorded as a castle, while the next year, 1355, the castle and hamlet of Corrado Lancia at Migaido was occupied by Count Manfred Chiaramonte of Modica (d.1391).  Presumably it reverted to royal control with the fall of Andrew Chiaramonte in 1392 and was mentioned as still functional in 1408.

The castle stands isolated half way between Pettineo and Castel di Lucio, well off the beaten track.  It appears to have once been immensely powerful and is probably late thirteenth century in conception.  The eastern side of the castle rests on the start of a drop off the edge of the plateau to the west, which also means that the castle defences lie to its western half.  To the east there are modern farm buildings obscuring the ancient layout.  To the north is a powerful drum tower, linked to another boldly projecting round tower to the west.  From here the curtain cut back to the plateau edge and boasts another D shaped tower two thirds of the way down the curtain.  Half way between this and the west tower is a boldly projecting rectangular gatetower which still boasts gun loops, suggesting that the castle remained operational into the fifteenth century.  From the D shaped south tower the wall continued southeast for another 20' before ending in a collapse.  Parts of the enceinte still stand over 10' high while the gatetower is still over 20' high.

The heart of the castle is a truly powerful round keep over 40' in diameter with walls over 15' thick.  This still stands 4 storeys and over 40' high.  Internally there are mural stairs and internally crude flat arched apertures.  Traces of the battlements remain on the summit.  Presumably it all dated to before Manfred Chiaramonte took the district in 1355 as there is nothing similar to the supposed Chiaramonte designs, cf. Steri palace etc.  Within the complex is a chapel which contains frescoes of the Pantocrator and the Ventimgilia arms.  This probably confirms the castle's origin as built by that family around the end of the turn of the fourteenth century as an outpost to Geraci Siculo some 9 miles to the southwest.

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