Castello Ursino

The castle, symbol of the city of Catania, was built between 1239 and 1250 and represented the imperial power of Emperor Frederick of Swabia in a city hostile to him. The works were carried out by the military architect Riccardo Da Lentini and the model on which was based was the military defensive similar to the castle of Maniace in Syracuse.

The name “Ursino” derives from “Castrum Sinus” which means “Castle of the Gulf”. Several important moments characterized the life of the Castle: in 1295 the Parliament met Sicilian who declared Giacomo II fallen and elected King of Sicily Frederick III, the settlement of the Aragonese court from 1296 onwards and the Peace of Catania signed between Giovanni Di Randazzo and Giovanna D’Angiò in 1347.In 1434, Alfonso the Magnanimous, signed in the Castle the act with which the University of Catania was established The Castle was gradually transformed into a prison and as such was used until 1838.

After the first thirty years of the Novecent or, the restoration works were carried out to transform it into the Civic Museum. The graffiti of the prisoners is of great interest, the one of one, a certain Don Rocco Gangemi who wrote: “Miseru cui troppu ama e troppu cridi” is memorable