The Castle


From the bottom of the valley rises the Eagle of Hohenstaufen landed on Sicily and is certainly worth the hinterland of western Sicily to arrive where the fortified site of Giuliana stands , dominated by a complex and fortification. From the bottom of the valley you could see the strong ramparts, but only a bird's-eye view would detecting the particular iconography that makes it look like a big bird of prey with outspread wings , with the beak facing the town. From here it is easy to put off the thought of Hohenstaufen eagle , the house of Frederick II , which is attributed to the construction of the building or, at least , of its original nucleus .

From cutting-edge strategic monastery , the castle retains the indomitable spirit of Frederick's Castle , unique monument of the Corleone that Frederick II wanted for its high strategic value, overlooking the valley of the river Sosio from the rock of volcanic origin, while at his feet has developed the citadel of Juliana, from the Arab-Norman origin  that today - with its narrow streets , its stone houses and its sights - has the impression to emerge from medieval times.

Giuliana , placed in the extreme southern part of the province of Palermo , was - with its towering castle on the Rock - a great observatory to dominate the wide valley to the sea of the coast. In following the historic events of the area, the building complex gradually ended up losing the original function of armed sentry to guard the valley, remaining finally "only" a residence of the lords that followed in the domain of the feud. And there is not some moments of brilliance: in 1543 , Emperor Charles V raised solemnly town from county to Marquis. The body of the building below, however, had to be built in the seventeenth century to house a convent of monks Olivetans, employees from the nearby Abbey of Santa Maria del Bosco. A strong-willed clients to take advantage of brilliance with the natural characteristics of the site Defense from a high cliff to the south and to the north by a strong curtain wall that follows the geometry of the system , the fort seems to have been built in several stages , even a short one chronological order : the focal point, and probably the first group , consists of a pentagonal tower spire facing west, this great body of the building then expands into two rectangular wings arranged at an obtuse angle . The precise symmetry of the building certainly meets a strong-willed and high-level commission which the imperial  pointed to a design that takes advantage of maturity in a brilliant way the natural characteristics of the site.

The Pentagon and the magic of Frederick in the use of pentagone towers is not unique in the architecture of Frederick II : Castle in Prato and in that of Augusta are inserted into the walls, stretched outwards; suggestive comparisons have been established, also , even with the crusader castles and fortified architecture of the Holy Land, Syria and Jordan. In addition to this, however , perhaps it is interesting to recall that the complexity of the geometric and mathematical relationships Frederick architecture is enriched with some symbolic content , so dear to the tireless curiosity of Frederick II: Much has been expatiated on the value of the number five : the sum of the three ( the divine trinity , the three planes of existence ) and two (thesis and antithesis , male and female , human and divine ) of the four ( stability and concreteness , an event in the sensible world ) and the one ( primordial element , manifestation of the pure ) . But the number five is also the digit of " quintessence " , the so-called " fifth element " or " ether " , an element that does not depend Supraphysical by human being because it belongs to a higher plane ; five is also the central point of cross, the one from which the part irradazione that allows to exit from the static of the cube to arrive at a new development, to a fifth dimension not calculated , but present and active .

This strength is reflected here in the geometric power of an impressive creation geared to mathematical logic and a visual and emotional impact aimed at controlling physical and symbolic of an area difficult. The tower , a symbol of strength and virility The tower , about 18 meters high , is divided into two rooms overhead, independent units, vaulted , from the ground floor to the first floor is accessed via an external stone staircase with two flights . From this compartment is reached then , with a wooden staircase , above the flat roof paved , surrounded by a parapet . The classrooms built against the tower , large rectangular rooms with pointed arches , would , according to recent studies , a little later . Peculiar to the architectural decoration Swabian shelves " inverted pyramid " that hold the central arch in the roof of the central hall . Certainly other interventions have occurred in the factory, witnessed by inconsistencies walls and stylistic elements clearly later Last destination , museum of precious stones.

The castle was restored , albeit partially , recently with the design and supervision of works by the Superintendent of cultural and Environmental Heritage of Palermo , will host a museum of precious stones , with particular regard to agate and jasper, widely present in the area . The Jaspers Giuliana , whose De Borch (1778 /80) has enumerated many as 46 varieties, were heavily stylized baroque age for decoration in marble "shuffle " of the churches in Palermo and were also required by the Medici court and the Bourbons of Naples.