Castello Ursino and Civic Museum

Castello Ursino and Civic Museum

Castello Ursino in Catania was founded by the Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century. The castle was used during the period of Vespri Siciliani as Parliament headquarters and, later, as residence of Aragonese kings, among which Frederick III.
Today it welcomes the Civic Museum of the city.
It was the Emperor Frederick II who strongly wanted the castle and had it built between 1239 and 1250. The Emperor considered it in the framework of a more complex coastal defensive system of Eastern Sicily (among others, also castello Maniace in Syracuse and Augusta Castle served the same purpose) and as symbol of imperial authority and power in a city often hostile and rebel to Frederick. Militar architect Riccardo da Lentini was encharged of the works and the castle was built on what at that time was a rocky promontory on the sea, linked through a isthmus to the city and urban walls. It was equipped also with an impressive moat and drawbridge. Probably the name “Ursino” comes from Castrum Sinus that is “gulf castle”.
Bought in 1932 by the municipality and restored, today the castle is in the city centre and, since 20th October 1934, it has welcomed Catania Civic Museum.

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Posted on

20 January 2015