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 1282.  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 Sojourns.


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