The Route of Etna Castles

Every castle has a fairy tale… A true time-traveller’s dream… Let’s make our own!

Each castle has a fairy tale that is full of poetry… it’s a real trip back in the past…

Let’s get started!

This is an itinerary that combines history, art, and natural beauty with traditions.

The main attraction is the ten castles surrounding Mount Ethana, Europe’s highest volcano.

Castello Ursino is located in Catania. It includes the castles of Motta Sant’Anastasia and Paterno. Calatabiano, Castiglione di Sicilia, Randazzo and Maletto. These small villages tell us about their medieval past.

1. Castello Ursino Catania

It was constructed between 1239-1250 according to king Frederick I of Svevia will at a strategic location: a promontory overlooking the sea. The 1669 lava flow covered the bastions, and the bases of Towers, and most importantly altered the coastline, leading to the loss of the strategic position. We can now admire the civic collections including an archaeological section, and art gallery, as well as important exhibitions of contemporary art.

2. Norman Castle Motta S. Anastasia

It was constructed on a basal promontory at 65m high. This is likely to have been built over the remains of an Arab tower. It’s a historical and educational museum, divided into three floors: The multimedia room on the ground floor, The arms room on the first floor, and The joyful room on the second floor.

3. Norman Castle Paterno

It was built by Conte Ruggero d’Altavilla in 1072. It is the largest of three Towers in Simeto Valley. The ground floor houses a chapel, which still has some mural paintings. On the first floor is a large hall, which is lit by four mullioned limestone windows, and on the second floor is The Lodge,, with two mullioned windows.

4. Norman Castle Adrano

It was built on top of pre-existing Roman and Greek fortifications in the 11th century. It measures 33 meters in height and is surrounded by bastioned walls, with corner towers. It was also used as a prison. This involved the readjustment of cells’ salons. It houses the archaeological Museum, a Library, and some historic and artistic collections.

5. Castello Nelson Bronte

The building was used as a benedectin monastery in the 12th century. It was partially destroyed by the 1693 earthquake. It was abandoned after two centuries. The English Admiral Horatio Nick gave it its name. You can now visit the castle’s museum, the park, and the ruin of the old abbey.

6. Castle Manfredi Maletto

In 1263, Count Manfredi Maletta built the castle on a ridge made of sandstone rocks. It lost its function as a habitation site in the 16th century. It was damaged by the 1693 earthquake, and then it was abandoned. You can view the views from the castle’s top. This view shows an amazing panorama over the country, including Nebrodi, Etna, and the valley below.

7. Castello Svevo Randazzo

It was the last of the eight towers that made up the old walls of Randazzo. It was called “il Maschio”, because of its important role in the defense system. In the thirteenth century, the “Executioner de Valdemone” transformed the underground into torture rooms for prisoners and those sentenced. The Castle today houses Vagliasindi, an archaeological collection.

8. Castello di Lauria Castiglione di Sicilia

The Byzantine period is the core of the building. The ancient site is remarked upon by several round stones that were thrown using catapults. The Solecchia is found in the upper part of the building. This area was likely the location where the first coins were issued. The castle is now home to the Regional Winehouse, where many traditional Sicilian wines can be found.

9. Calatabiano Arabic Norman Castle

The majestic castle can be found 200m between Etna, the Ionian Sea, and Etna. You can enjoy suggestive concerts and theatre performances at the castle’s recent renovation. The Cruyllas Hall is one of the most important areas of the castle. Through the two windows, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Alcantara Valley. The inclined panoramic elevator takes visitors to the top of the castle in just two minutes and a quarter. It allows them to simultaneously view the Etna and Taormina as well as the Alcantara Valley and the spectacular sea.

10. Norman Castle Aci Castello

The castle is centered on a lava rock headland that overlooks the sea. The castle was connected to the coast by lava during the 1169 eruption. The Castle’s museum displays archaeological finds, especially from the surrounding sea. A botanical garden is also located on one of the terraces.