/ / The Castello Ursino: photos, description (Castello Ursino)

The Castello Ursino: photos, description (Castello Ursino)

The Castello Ursino in Catania located, was built between 1239 and 1250 years by order of Holy Roman Emperor and king of Sicily Frederick II. At that time it was considered impregnable. In 1295 the castle was signed James II, king of Aragon, who had been deposed by Parliament during the Sicilian Vespers - a popular uprising. The following year he was captured by Robert of Anjou, soon, however, the castle again came into the possession of the genus of Aragon.

Later, the Castello Ursino served as the residence for the kings of Federigo III, Pedro II, Louis the Child, Federigo IV and Queen Mary. The last daughter of the king, Federigo III, in 1379, was kidnapped from the castle Guglielmo Raimondo Moncada who wanted to prevent the marriage of Mary with Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Here kept his court the king of Sicily as Martin I, the spouse of Mary.

Once the capital of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies was moved from Catania to Palermo, and also after the widespread dissemination of firearms, Castello Ursino lost its military purpose and was used as a prison. This is one of the few buildings that survived during the devastating earthquake of 1693.

The castle has a rectangular shape with massive towers at each of the corners and a courtyard under the open sky. When the castle was built, it stood on a cliff, overlooking the Ionian sea, however today as a result of the eruptions of Etna and numerous earthquakes from the coast it is separated by a kilometer. The moat that once surrounded the castle has also been covered by volcanic lava. The current location of Castello Ursino among the streets and shops in a typical urban area sometimes brings tourists into confusion.

Since 1934, the castle houses the civic Museum of Catania and the local art gallery. Inside you can see objects and works of art that have always decorated the castle, and brought from other places of the city. The exhibits of the Museum are dated from antiquity until the present day, presenting the history of Sicily. In 2009, there was completed a large-scale restoration work.