The Castle Chiaramonte of Siculiana, situated in thehomonymous town, is a rich and splendid architectural monument. It was built on the top of a headland, probably seat of the ancient cena. The castle dominated, with its towers, the village and the valley that lies gently on the Mediterranean sea.
The origin of the fortress is Arab. The ancient arab castle was rebuilt in 13140, by order of Federico Chiaramonte. In 1311 Costanza, Federico Chiaramonte’s only daughter, celebrated in the castle her second mariage. Her husband was the noble from Genoa Brancaleone Doria, who became Governor of Sardinia in 1335. Many mariages and noble agreements were celebrated in the castle, due to its splendor and to the belief that any celebration that took place on the “Rock of Siculiana”, was blessed. In the late years of the XIV century, in the centre of “Piazza d’Armi”, a deep cistern was bored to gather and conserve rain water for daily use. A precious resource in case of siege, which you can still admire today. The Church of St. Lorenzo, in the south wing of the castle, is the most ancient of Siculiana, built during the XVII century. here, began the cult of the St. Crucifix, which is kept in the homonymous sanctuary. During the ages, the castle became a prison. The last Baron of Siculiana was AntonioPerez. In the early years of the XX century, the Baron agnello ordered the destruction of the “Forth Noble”, the most important artistic and historical part of the castle, to build a luxurious residence for himself. In this residence, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, one of the most important writers of the 900s, was Agnallo’s guest. Many think that during his stay, he wrote the last pages of his masterpiece “The gattopardo”.
Castle Chiaramonte of Siculiana History
The Chiaramontano Castle of Siculiana, located in the homonymous agricultural and mining center of the Agrigentino, located at 85 meters above sea level between the capital and Sciacca, is a monument of the anonymous and rich castle architecture. Built on the end of the rocky ridge of a promontory, perhaps the seat of the ancient Supper, it dominated with its crenellated towers the village that bears the same name and the valley gently lying on the Mediterranean Sea, where there was a rich frumentary emporium. It was for this reason an impregnable fortress. Its impregnability was particularly due to its walls, which fell to the edge of the rock. The origin of the fortress is Arabic. The Muslims had called him, together with the small surrounding farmhouse, "Rahl or Kalat Siguliana", and was among the eleven castles that resisted Roger the Norman, but were destroyed after the surrender of Agrigento, signed on 25 July 1087. After the War of the Vespers, concluded with the peace of Caltabellotta (24 August 1302), Federico Chiaramonte
, son of Federico and the Marchisia Prefolio, lady of Caccamo, received, as a reward of its value, from the king Federico II of Aragon the Sicilian barony combined with that of Favara and Racalmuto. Chiaramonte had the ancient Arab castle rebuilt, where leftovers were razed to the ground. The restoration works were conducted so hard, that already in 1310 the fortress of Siculiana had returned to new life. The front of the building, facing south, was equipped with towers and propugnacoli. The only access route was carved into the hard rock and communicated only with the drawbridge and through an entrance hall, an arch in the center, we arrived in the middle of the vast square of arms in a triangular shape, where a deep cistern was dug to collect and conserve rainwater for the daily use of the castellani, water that became precious in the event of a siege (it is still existing today). An authentic hypogeum connected the castle with a site close to the "Caricatore di Siculiana" (Siculiana seaport) and to an ancient princely headquarters of Serralonga, in the homonymous district, to allow the Baron a secret escape route in case of necessity . The entrance to this hypogeum was located in a room of the "Quarto Nobile" and was voluntarily blocked by the Agnello in 1934. On the courtyard there were the large stables, the arms rooms, the lodgings of the armigers and the stable staff. , the vast warehouses for the deposit of crops and provisions, the prisons and the church of San Lorenzo, the oldest of Siculiana, dating back to the mid-century. XVII, also called the "Madonna degli Angeli", where the first place of worship of the S.S. Crucifix (it is celebrated in Siculiana every year at the beginning of May). This small church was the seat of an ancient and solid confraternity. To the south-east there were the so-called "noble quarter", made up of two floors, used as a residence for the baron and a place for receptions. In the internal rooms up to the beginning of the 20th century the remains of ancient frescoes could be admired. Here, in 1311, the second marriage between the only daughter of Federico Chiaramonte, Costanza (widow of the Marquis of Savona, Antonino del Carretto), and the Genoese nobleman Brancaleone Doria, governor of Sardinia in 1335. It seems that the choice of the Siculianese Castle had been determined not only by the enchantment of the place and the structure, but also by a belief that the agreements concluded in the fortress of Siculiana were blessed by Providence. This belief, mixed between faith and superstition, elevated the fortress of Siculiana to a symbol of copiousness. This explains the many wedding and noble agreements held there. Brancaleone Doria
is the character quoted by Dante Alighieri
in the Inferno of the "Divine Comedy" (canto XXXIII, verses 133 to 153).
After the death of Frederick, which took place in Agrigento towards the end of 1312, the barony and the castle of Siculiana went to Constance, his universal heir. Constance loved to be surrounded by embroiderers and appreciated the arts in general. He died in Agrigento in March 1350, leaving the title and properties to Antonio del Carretto Chiaramonte, baron of Racalmuto, his first-born son of the first bed. Very celebrated the receptions that, without saving of glories, Antonio held in the Sicilian castle. With the death of Antonio del Carretto the lordship of Siculiana passed to his eldest son Gerardo, convinced assertor of King Martin and his undisputed supporter against the Sicilian barons who turned to the Aragonese crown in 1398. Gerardo del Carretto withdrew however in Piedmont, leaving the barony and the land of Siculiana to his younger brother Matteo. This possession was confirmed by King Martin in 1401, as a sign of gratitude towards the race. At the death of Matteo del Carretto the land of Siculiana passed in 1408 to Giovanni, his son.