Santapau, also known as Licodia Eubea castle, is
yet another castle in the Catania district destroyed by the great
earthquake of 1693. The castle was possibly begun in the
Roman era as a gallery was excavated under the ward and this was built
in a typical Roman brick manner.
The first known lord of the
castle was the Angevin, Bertrand Artus who held the place in
1269. In May 1272 the garrison was set at 4 knights, but the fortress was seized by Aragonese with the Sicilian Vespers of
In reply it was given
to Count Ugolino Callaro of Licodia by King Charles II (1285-1309) in
1299 after his successful conquest of the area. It had been
retaken and was held by Richard Filangieri by the 1330. It later
passed to Ughetto Santapau under King Martin
(d.1409). His family left the fortress their name.
The ruins of the castle, stand on the highest point of the 1,900' high
ridge, dominating Licodia Eubea to the northeast. The castle is
another Byzantine battleship shaped castle, although this one is wider
than most, cf. Aci castle.
The main ward is pentagonal in
shape, about 120' northwest to southeast by 180' northeast to southewest, with a boldly projecting D
shaped tower to the northeast overlooking the town. The northwest front has
largely gone, but running diagonally across the site a large
residential block forms the southwest front of the castle. This block
seems to be later than the enceinte, possibly being thirteenth
century. To the southeast are 2 D shaped towers making the 50'
frontage of this structure. The block then stretches about
140' to the northwest, but most of the structure, other than the northwest front, has
disappeared down to the foundations. At the northwest angle is a
large projecting rectangular structure, with a further smaller one
beyond. There was a postern facing the town. The ruins
mostly consist of rubble laid between flat levelling courses with the
later parts of the castle having numerous putlog holes. There are
no Roman tiles, other than in the underground chamber.
Why not join me at other Sicilian
castles? Information on this and other tours can be found at Scholarly
Paul Martin Remfry