An ample page of the history of Caltanissetta is represented, almost from the alive, by castles and medieval towers of sighting that in big quantity rise along the territory of the Province. Built prevalently in medieval epoch, these ancient buildings assured the feudal gentlemen of that time, the control of the middle-southern area of the Island.
The Caltanissetta’s territory represented a kind of “dividing wall” between west part and the Oriental ones of Sicily, limit that coincided approximately with the course of the Imera Meridionale River. Generally these constructions functioned as real castles of sighting and in them were often allocated garrisons of soldiers.
An itinerary of Castles undertaken in the territory of Caltanissetta, moving from north to south, starts certainly from Resuttano, in the northern part of the Province, where rose what remains of the ancient Castle of Resuttano (known also as Castle of Rahal Sultan), outpost of Arabic origin that in the ‘300 passed under the dominion of Ventimiglia.
The importance of this castle was due to his strategic position; the construction rose indeed on the valley of the Imera Meridionale River, the principal way of passage to achieve the center of Sicily from the Madonie. Today the castle includes only some perimetric boundaries and it is set to a recent bucolic construction.
The discovery of the “Province of Castles”
Descending toward south and stopping at Caltanissetta, you can admire the tower of the Pietrarossa’s Castle . Of Arabic origin, Castle was composed in the origin by three sighting towers and his name was probably given by the color of the bricks that constituted the same castles. The Normans, out casted by Arabs, settled there around the 1150; afterward the Castle passed under the dominion of Angevins and Aragonese. Just under these lasts it achieved the best splendor, selected as place of varied conferences among important political figures of Sicily . In 1407 the Castle was given to the Moncada ‘s descends, rich gentlemen of Caltanissetta, in whose hands it remained since the end of feudalism. Finally, in February of 1567, the building collapsed under a shake of earthquake. About the original construction remains today only a sighting tower castled in a top cop to a bony calcareous relief.
In the extreme north western point of the Province, few kilometers from Mussomeli, there is stately above a limpness cape, the Manfredonico Castle, built in 1370 by Manfredi III Chiaramonte. Draws only of one of the most preserved castles of the Province of Caltanissetta. In its inside follow other majestic decorated arcs, thick boundaries, ample rooms and mullioned windows.
Suggestive is the Castle of Delia (or Castellaccio), that dominated in the past the old street of connection between Catania and Agrigento. The Castle was built around the IX century and during of the war of the Vespers it was at the center of an acrid contention between Aragonese and Angevins.
Moving toward the south-east you can arrived at Mazzarino, where it is possible to admire two fortitudes: the Grassuliato Castle and the Castle called “U Cannuni”, with its pregnant oblong form, as suggests the same dialect name, of a cannon. Moving toward south you can see the Normanno Castle of Butera, with its pregnant and thick emblatted boundaries, while near Gela, on an unusual spike of chalky rock, you will found the Castelluccio that goes back to the origins of 1143 and it has a defensive function. Of great historic interest there is also the Castle of Gela , that together with the surrounded walls of the city, already around the 1230, constituted the unique military garrison of the coast that had functions of sighting and of defense against the raids of the buccaneers . Generally, during all the Middleage, castles and fortitudes of the coast had essentially the function of police on the possible traps that arrived from the sea. For this purpose was created, for example, the Manfria Tower, from which was possible to police on the coastal littoral in direction of Licata.
Originally also the Castle of Falconara was a sighting tower. The building, that rises on the west coast of Gela, has suffered during the centuries a series of embellishments and of enlargements that bestow it the appearance of a real medieval castle. Thanks to its picturesque position, Castle of Falconara represents one of the most beautiful castles in the Province of Caltanissetta. In the first time of ‘800, the building passed under the possession of German Lord George Wilding, which added to the original construction a new wing, a saloon and a big balcony vertically on the sea. Then the Castle passed under the Chiaramonte, that enriched the rooms with precious pictures, ceramics and antique fornitures.
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