Serravalle a Mineo

It is uncertain when the castle was founded.  In 1296, during the war of the Sicilian Vespers (1282-1302), the fief of Serravalle belonged to Geoffrey Tratto, although by 1330 it belonged to his heirs.  The heir turned out to be his daughter, Sofia.  In 1360 the fiefdom was purchased by Perrone Giorni and in 1372 passed to Nicholas Castagna.  At the end of the fourteenth century he passed the fief and castle to Giovanni di Taranto.  Therefore the castle was certainly in existence by this time, if not much earlier.

The fortress, another called Castelluccio, stands on a rocky outcrop called Pizzuto, which lies in the territory of Mineo.  From here, with Mineo and Mongialino castle it controlled the southern approaches to Catania.  The mention of the fee in 1296 may suggest it was built in the time of the Sicilian Vespers war (1282-1302).  The core of the castle is a rectangular tower keep, roughly 35' by 20', onto which has been built a large 30' square tower at a lower level to the south.  The arrangement is most unusual.  The original keep was of at least 4 floors and has ground floor loops as well as pointed windows in the upper floors to the south and east. 

To the east of these structures is a small forecourt, while the main, lower bailey lies to the north.  The whole is equipped with probably sixteenth century Ghibelline battlements.  The whole structure is rubble built with good quality quoins, however the keep itself is made of less well laid rubble, which probably indicates its greater age than the other structures.  On the north side, alone at the top of the tower and in the bailey curtain, putlog holes pierce the walls.  Presumably these sections were rebuilt at a later date.

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


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