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Castello Ursino description and photos - Italy: Catania (Sicily). Detailed information about the attraction. Description, photographs and a map showing the nearest significant objects. The title in English is Castello Ursino.
Photo and Description
Castello Ursino Castle, located in Catania, was built between 1239 and 1250 by order of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily, Frederick II. At that time, he was considered impregnable. In 1295, Jaime II, king of Aragon, was imprisoned in this castle, who was deposed by parliament during the Sicilian Vespers, a popular uprising. The next year it was captured by Robert of Anjou, but soon the castle again passed into the possession of the Aragon family.
Later, Castello Ursino served as a residence for the kings Federigo III, Pedro II, Louis the Child, Federigo IV and Queen Mary. The latter, the daughter of King Federigo III, was kidnapped from the castle by Guglielmo Raimondo Moncada in 1379, who wanted to prevent Maria from marrying Gian Galeazzo Visconti. King of Sicily Martin I also kept his court here, husband of Mary.
After the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was moved from Catania to Palermo, and after the widespread proliferation of firearms, Castello Ursino lost its military purpose and began to be used as a prison. This is one of the few buildings that survived the devastating earthquake of 1693.
The castle is rectangular with massive towers at each corner and an open-air courtyard. When the castle was built, it stood on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, but today, as a result of the eruptions of Etna and numerous earthquakes, it is a kilometer away from the coast. The moat that once surrounded the castle was also filled with volcanic lava. The current location of Castello Ursino among the streets and shops in a typical town square sometimes confuses tourists.
Since 1934, the castle houses the Catania Municipal Museum and the local art gallery. Inside, you can see objects and works of art that have always adorned the castle, as well as brought from other places in the city. The museum exhibits date from antiquity to the present day, representing the entire history of Sicily. In 2009, large-scale restoration work was completed here.
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Topic: Castello Ursino castle description and photos - Italy: Catania (Sicily).