Thursday, June 16, 2016

Aci Castello

Built of volcanic stone from nearby Mount Etna, the Castello Normano of Aci looms darkly over the Sicilian coast.

Nineteenth-century photograph.

The spot has been fortified since ancient times, but the current castle was built by Sicily's Norman conquerors in the years around 1100 CE.

The nearby town was a paltry place until 1169, when an eruption of Mount Etna drove people out of several nearby villages and they sought refuge at Aci.

The castle had many owners: various Norman counts, the Bishop of Catania, and after the War of he Sicilian Vespers (1282-1302) it was granted to Roger of Lauria, admiral of the Aragonese fleet. Various sources say it has been besieged several times, but they don't say when or by whom. But what a thing it is to see.

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