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The Castle

Resistant to nature Wanted by Frederick II to guard from the city arisen against him, the castle of Ursino resisted first to the eruption of 1669, when lava surrounded it and moved it away from the sea, burying its moats and ramparts. Then, it remained standing, along with a few other things when the earth shook on the night of 11th January 1693. It was built by the military architect Riccardo da Lentini on what was then an impregnable rocky promontory overlooking the sea, connected by an isthmus to the city and to the city walls. Initially it overlooked the sea, south of the port of Catania; now it is a hundred metres far from the sea due to morphological modifications caused by the eruption and the earthquake. How to finance the construction of a castle Work began in 1239-40 and lasted a decade: in three letters sent by the emperor between November 1239 and March of the following year to the supervisor Riccardo from Lentini, we learn that the castle works started precisely in Catania in November 1239, thanks to two hundred ounces of gold spent by the citizens of Catania under “warm” invitation by the Swabian, plus other one hundred and sixty left from the construction of the Castle of Augusta. Thirty metres of imperial power Its present appearance dates back to the restoration carried out in the 1930s: of rigorously geometric setting, the plan imitates arab examples. Enclosed by the four cylindrical towers at the corners, the structure rises imposingly on a height of 30 metres. The northern right tower was called “of the Flag”, according to the Angevin and Aragonese custom to raise the flags of the val di Noto and val Demone. The other tower was called Martorio, because it was used for torture. One of the two southern towers was called “of the Hall”, because near the hall of Vestments, the other “of the Warehouse” because it was used as weapons storage. The eagle strangling the lamb and the five-pointed star The windows were small in order not to give the enemy access; on the north side they are entirely missing because it was the most exposed to attacks. Also note the massive stillness of its walls constructed with lava rock. Of the external decorations only two elements remain. On the northern front it is possible to observe a three-lobed arched niche containing an eagle, symbol of the Emperor, strangling a lamb, symbol of the people who had dared to rebel, with its claws. On the eastern front the Pentalfa (or Pentagram) inlay is visible, a five-pointed star, by some scholars incorrectly defined as the star of David, a six-pointed Jewish symbol.  Graffiti of prisoners and archaeological finds In 1837 the building, which changes name to Forte Ferdinando, already partly used as a prison, undergoes an intervention that changes the original structure to make it militarily reusable. In 1860 it is used as barracks and in the courtyard, on the southern facade, the prisoners ‘ graffiti are still visible. Since October 20th, 1934 the castle has been home to the Museo Civico: 8043 pieces are kept there among archeological finds, inscriptions, coins, sculptures, paintings, Greek and Roman clay sarcophagi, and mosaics from the city and from the territories of Catania, Paternò, Centuripe, Lentini, Rome, Trapani, Caltagirone, Ercolano and Camarina.   Source: www.icastelli.it Source: “I castelli siciliani di Federico II” – Copyright ©2001 Alberto Gentile e Federico Messana

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The History

Catania against the Swabians It was a very controversial relationship that between Catania and the Swabian dynasty: thirty years from the terrible earthquake of 1169 which destroyed the ancient Greek colony, Catania still had the strength to resist to Henry VI alongside the last heirs of the Altavilla; despite the exemplar Imperial punishment, Catania also rebelled against Frederick II in 1232, undergoing a second devastating pillaging. A warning handed down through the centuries Proof of this sad story is the 13th-century portal of the Church of St. Agatha al Carcere, wanted by the Emperor in memory of the repressed revolt of the city: the portal, dated 1236, presents sculptures and symbols whose meanings are still shrouded in mystery, despite in the centuries closer to us several scholars tried to interpret them. Several are the emblematic figures that should have served as a warning to the people of Catania and to wayfarers, figures to be placed right at the entrance of the Cathedral-fortress of Catania. The enigmatic symbols of the portal Among these, the representation on the leftmost column: the Emperor comfortably sitting on his throne with his right hand stroking his beard, instead of taking the sword or scepter, as a symbol of pride and prestige. The second column shows a choked bird, which is the Eagle emblem of the Norman House. Next to the sitting Emperor, on the second left hand column, there is the Hydra with many heads, with its chest on the ground and again strangled. This represents all the Sicilian cities, which, like Catania, were pacified by Frederick. On the third arch, over the columns, there is another allegory: a monkey with a ball in its mouth representing the man who doesn’t reach his intent. St. Agatha’s intercession The story goes that, in order to sign the surrender, the emperor sent ambassadors around town who were rejected in the first instance. Subsequently, entering Catania and putting to flight the whole population, the Swabians fled to the Cathedral where, in the meantime, most of the commanders had taken refuge. Tradition says that Frederick, having issued for them the order of death sentence, would personally enter the sacred Temple and, opening a Missal, see appearing in letters of fire the known sentence “do not offend Agata’s homeland, because she is the avenger of insults against her”; such a strong and intimidating sentence that Frederick II decided to commute corporal and mourning punishment to be imposed to Catania to that of humiliation and repentance. Freedom conquered tanks to the enemy Yet, to the grandson of Barbarossa the Sicilian city owes its emancipation from the jurisdiction of the Bishop-Abbot wanted by the great count Ruggero at the beginning of the Millennium and the transformation in royal-city; a few years later, thanks again to Frederick II, it was acknowledged as Municipality and invited to elect representatives to Parliament. The third sister of the reign In the medieval and Renaissance period the third sister among the cities of the Kingdom (along with Palermo and Messina) recorded a strong growth and expansion and in 1434 the first and only University for a long time in Sicily was also founded. In ‘600, however, the city seemed to lose its dynamic image and a strong earthquake in 1693 gave it a serious blow. Architecturally, however, 1693 is its year of birth, as Catania was completely reconstructed: to resist were only some parts of the walls, the Castle built by Frederick II and the Cathedral with the admonition of the Swabian Emperor. Sources: www.cataniacultura.com

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Accommodation & Restaurants

ACCOMMODATION Valentino Piazza Spirito Santo, 39 Catania 095/2503072 Art &Jazz Via Alfonsetti, n° 82/84 Catania 095/7477446 Bellini Via Landolina, 41 Catania 095/7150969 Biscari via Anzalone, 7 Catania 095/2500209 Borgo Verde Via San Nullo, n° 5/R Catania 095/7141693 Centrale Europa Via Vitt. Emanuele, 167 Catania 095/311309 City Hotel Via Salvatore Tomaselli, n° 47 Catania 095/7152364 Etnea 316 via Etnea, 316 Catania 095/2503076 Ferrara Via Umberto, 66 Catania 095/316000 Gorizia Via S. Grassi, 8 Catania 095/7150528 Gran Hotel Excelsior Piazza G. Verga, 39 Catania 095/7476111 Gresi Via Pacini, 28 Catania 095/322709 Hotel Agathae Via Etnea, n° 229 Catania 0952500436 Hotel del Duomo via Etnea, 28 Catania 095/2503177 Hotel La Ville via Monteverdi, 15 Catania 095/7465230 Hotel Mediterraneo via Dottor Consoli, 27 Catania 095/32ALBERGHI Valentino Piazza Spirito Santo, 39 Catania 095/2503072 Art &Jazz Via Alfonsetti, n° 82/84 Catania 095/7477446 Bellini Via Landolina, 41 Catania 095/7150969 Biscari via Anzalone, 7 Catania 095/2500209 Borgo Verde Via San Nullo, n° 5/R Catania 095/7141693 Centrale Europa Via Vitt. Emanuele, 167 Catania 095/311309 City Hotel Via Salvatore Tomaselli, n° 47 Catania 095/7152364 Etnea 316 via Etnea, 316 Catania 095/2503076 Ferrara Via Umberto, 66 Catania 095/316000 Gorizia Via S. Grassi, 8 Catania 095/7150528 Gran Hotel Excelsior Piazza G. Verga, 39 Catania 095/7476111 Gresi Via Pacini, 28 Catania 095/322709 Hotel Agathae Via Etnea, n° 229 Catania 0952500436 Hotel del Duomo via Etnea, 28 Catania 095/2503177 Hotel La Ville via Monteverdi, 15 Catania 095/7465230 Hotel Mediterraneo via Dottor Consoli, 27 Catania 095/325330 Hotel Nettuno Viale Ruggero di Lauria, 121 Catania 095/7122006 Hotel Sangiuliano Via A. di San Giuliano, n° 132 Catania 095/536924 Hotel Villa Romeo Via Platamone, n° 8 Catania 095534714 3351360842 Il Principe Hotel Via Alessi, 20/26 Catania 095/2500345 Jolly Hotel Bellini Piazza Trento, n° 13 Catania 095/316933 Jolly Hotel Ognina Via Messina, 628 Catania 095/7528111 Katane Palace Hotel Via Finocchiaro Aprile,110 Catania 095/7470702 La Vecchia Palma via Etnea,668 Catania 095/432025 Le Dune Viale Kennedy 10/b Catania 095/7233120 Liberty Hotel Via S. Vito n° 40 Catania 095/311651 Manganelli Palace Via Recalcaccia, n° 2 Catania 095/7151842 Mele Via Leonardi, 24 Catania 095/327542 Miramare Viale Kennedy, 42 Catania 095/346963 Moderno Via Alessi, 9 Catania 095/326250 Novecento via Mons. Ventimiglia, 35/37/39 Catania 095/310488 Parco degli Aragonesi viale Kennedy,2 Catania 095/7234073 Poggio Ducale Via Paolo Gaifami, 5 Catania 095/330016 Proserpina Viale Libertà, 63 Catania 095/534911 Romano Palace Luxury Hotel Viale Kennedy s. n. Catania 095/5967111 Royal Via A. di San Giuliano,337 Catania 095/2503347 Rubens Via Etnea, 196 Catania 095/317073 Savona Via Vitt. Emanuele, 210 Catania 095/326982 Trieste Via Leonardi, 24 Catania 095/327105 Una Hotel Palace Via Etnea, n° 218 Catania 095/2505111 Hotel Sangiuliano Via A. di San Giuliano, n° 132 Catania Villa del Bosco via del Bosco, 62 Catania 095/7335100 Villa Mater Sanctitatis Via Vittorio Bottego, 10 Catania 095/580532 B&B “B&B Solsicily” Via G. Di Prima, 130 Catania 095 2861402 – 338 8576569 – 392 0970 Abaco Sicilia Via Luigi Sturzo, n° 142 Catania 328/3433854 Ai Putti Via Vittorio Emanuele II, n° 140 Catania 095/316070 Aitna Belvedere Via Ofelia , 35 Catania 095/7312511 – 347/2845738 All’Orto Botanico B&B Via Etnea, n° 502 Catania 340/5682350 Amenano Bed & Breakfast Via Bicocca, n° 24 Catania 095/320787 340/1469774 ANANDA Via Muscatello, 7 Catania 095/446760 AseroBedandbreakfast Via Umberto n° 77 Catania 095/312670 B & B Adriana Via Barbagallo Pittà, 11 Catania 095/445117 347/9398935 B & B Al Centro Città Viale XX Settembre n° 11 Catania 095/502655 B & B Bellini Via Auteri n° 26 Catania 095/340545 – 3470672746 B & B Bianca Via Salvatore Tomaselli, n° 43 Catania 0959890989 3804231517 B & B Bon Ton Catania Via Etnea n° 740 Catania 3394112741 095497894 B & B Bordighera Largo Bordighera, n° 3 Catania 0957252174 3387699232 B & B Crociferi Via Crociferi, n° 81 Catania 0957152266 3478975729 B & B I Colori di Sara Via Salvatore Citelli, n° 29 Catania 347/6489359 B & B Li Cuti Via G. Macherione n° 25/A Catania 0958206283 B & B Martina Via Etnea, n° 452 Catania 0950930354 3403235571 B & B San Benedetto Piazza Pietro Lupo n° 3 Catania 3490523999 800062682 B & B Shantaram Via Grazia Deledda n°2 Catania 3493152946 B & B Sicily Relax Viale Mario Rapisardi, n° 643 Catania 3346199199 B & B Verga Via Giuseppe Fava n° 40 Catania 3465230821 B & B Villa Angelica Via Villini a mare, n°10 Catania 0957125884 3343036920 B & B Villa Bellini Via Etnea, n° 260 Catania 3288715342 095/0932585 B & B Zefiro Via Filippo Corridoni, 37/A Catania 095/312507 347/9211831 B&B Aiello Via S.Pio X, 18 Catania 095 473547-335 6613025 B&B ANTICA PROFUMERIA Via Erasmo Merletta n°19 Catania 095 0933076 – 329 9179720 B&B Bruca Via V.Emanuele II, 201 Catania 333 7097607 – 338 8369554 B&B Castello D’Urso Somma Via S.F.La Rena Catania 095 7139145 – 340 7285119 B&B CENTRAL Via Etnea, 260 Catania 095 325030/ 3491661985/6 B&B Cinque balconi via plebiscito, 133 Catania 338 7272701 B&B DA GIANNI E LUCIA Piazza Stesicoro n°59 Catania 339/1309950 095/316526 B&B EH 13 Via S. Euplio 13 Catania 095 2500269 – 392 8317001 B&B Faro Via San Michele, n° 26 Catania 095/320685 – 349 4578856 B&B Ferragosto Vico Buonafè, 2 Catania 348/0521519 B&B Garibaldi via Pozzo Mulino, 15 p. 1° Catania 095 241910 – 328 4944963 B&B Giuseppe Verdi Via Giuseppe Verdi, n° 155 Catania 095/530674 329/0950051 B&B Globetrotter Vicolo della Lanterna, 14 Catania 347 6359930 – 333 5779854 B&B Il Caravaggio V.le V. Veneto, 15 Catania 095 7226092 – 335 6750524 – B&B IL VALECOLO Largo D’Arrigo n°4 Catania 095/7477886 328 2754015 B & B Zefiro Via Filippo Corridoni, 37/A Catania 095/312507 347/9211831 B&B Ivana via Ventimiglia, 10 Catania 095 0936683 3469651006 B&B La Fontana dell’Amenano Vico Alfieri, n° 3 Catania 095 2936109 – 360/400435 B&B LA PLAJA Via S. Francesco La Rena, 15 Catania 095/7545754 340 0068251 B&B L’Acqua dell’Arte Via C. Colombo, 46 Catania 095 349949 B&B L’ELEFANTE Via Etnea 228 Catania 095/313566 340/1076699 B&B Massimo Via Etnea, 290 Catania 095 312494 – 311343 B&B Mave Via Imperia n° 3 Catania 095/436075 B&B Opera Via A. Di Sangiuliano, 129 Catania 3492689998 B&B ORLANDO Via Caronda, 118 Catania 095 552788 – 347 1734361 B&B Porto Ulisse viale G.Lainò, 5/7 Catania 095 7124144 – 3335336667 B&B Rapanui Via Gagliani, 13 Catania 095 2861243 – 328 8283077 B&B San Barnabà Via San Barnabà, n° 21 Catania 095/322911 347/5224013 B&B San Giuliano 114 Via A. di San Giuliano, n° 114 Catania 095/7470189 348/1386987 B&B SPADACCINI Via Spadaccini Catania 339/6360639 095/8205867 B&B LA PLAJA Via S. Francesco La Rena, 15 Catania 095/7545754 340 0068251 B&B L’Acqua dell’Arte Via C. Colombo, 46 Catania 095 349949 B&B L’ELEFANTE Via Etnea 228 Catania 095/313566 340/1076699 B&B Massimo Via Etnea, 290 Catania 095 312494 – 311343 B&B Mave Via Imperia n° 3 Catania 095/436075 B&B Opera Via A. Di Sangiuliano, 129 Catania 3492689998 B&B ORLANDO Via Caronda, 118 Catania 095 552788 – 347 1734361 B&B Porto Ulisse viale G.Lainò, 5/7 Catania 095 7124144 – 3335336667 B&B Rapanui Via Gagliani, 13 Catania 095 2861243 – 328 8283077 B&B San Barnabà Via San Barnabà, n° 21 Catania 095/322911 347/5224013 B&B San Giuliano 114 Via A. di San Giuliano, n° 114 Catania 095/7470189 348/1386987 B&B SPADACCINI Via Spadaccini Catania 339/6360639 095/8205867 B&B STESICORO Via Neve 7 Catania 095 311178 B&B Sveva Via Reitano, 26/a Catania 095 345509 – 328 4243238 B&B Umberto I via Umberto, 150 Catania 328 8715342 Bad -Bed & Breakfast and design Via Cristoforo Colombo, n° 24 Catania 095/346903 BB Teatro Bellini Via S. Orsola, 30 Catania 392/7654144 Bella Stella Via Vittorio Emanuele, n° 319 Catania 095/326694 349/2206236 Casa Barbero Via Caronda, 29 Catania 095/8206301 340/3160367 Casa Conti Via Umberto n° 78 Catania 095/2500058 3287058582 Casa Diana Corso Italia, 288 Catania 095/387415 347/5453561 Casa Leda via Vagliasindi, 53 Catania 095/442486 / 3289030044 Casa Melina via Calatabiano, 20 Catania 095 509445-338 3533766 Casa Samuele Via Samuele, n° 77 Catania 339/3450405 Casa Tina Maugeri Piazza San Giovanni Bosco, n° 8 Catania 095/7893403 Catania City Center Via Naumachia, n° 103 Catania 3476620341 Centro Storico via Spadaccini, 16 Catania 095/534470 – 3387681308 CITY LOUNGE Via Gagliani, 13 Catania 095/2861703 340/1455742 Da Nella Via Giordano Bruno, n° 110 Catania 347/7693680 De Curtis B&B Via de Curtis, n° 30 Catania 095/7465063 347/8233085 Euro Bed & Breakfast Via Luigi Sturzo n° 156 Catania 095/531007 – 3805426018 Fiamengo Inn Piazza Corsica, n° 13 Catania 3331770503 I Vicerè Piazza San Placido, n° 3 Catania 095/321440 348/4709395 Inn The Garden Via Etnea n° 700 Catania 095/553466 – 3338600477 La Mansarda via Umberto, 134 Catania 095/537521 340/8061877 Lògnina B&B Via Alcide De Gasperi Catania 095/0930636 335/57861263 Lumie di Sicilia Via Musumeci, n° 77 Catania 095/322578 – 333/4310652 Picone Bed and Breakfast Via Umberto, n° 104 Catania 3204415949 Porta Carlo V Via Auteri n° 26 Catania 095/340174 – 3393692673 Rossocorallo via Umberto, 56 Catania 340/9845453 San Placido Inn Piazza S. Placido, 3 Catania 095/315100 335 7182036 Sicilia Inn Corso Sicilia, n° 10 Catania 095/2503301 330/843988 B&B Sveva Via Reitano, 26/aSirtanus Piazza Lanza n° 14 Catania 095/446678 Villa dei Girasoli Via Enrico Pantano, n° 57 Catania 095/536855 Villa Vera Via del Bosco, 23 Catania 095/333794 – 3470679386

THE WONDERFUL CASTELS IN BASILICATA - PUGLIA - CALABRIA - SICILIA

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