The Castello Maniace is a citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...
. It stands on a large promontory
Promontory may refer to:*Promontory, a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water*Promontory, Utah, the location where the United States first Transcontinental Railroad was completed...
, where it was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Emperor Frederick II. It bears the name of George Maniakes, the Byzantine
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...
general who besieged and took the city in 1038.
The castle could be once reached only from a bridge spanning a moat (now filled). Notable is the decorated portal.
HistoryThe first fort was built here in 1038 by George Maniakes, a Greek general and later the catepan of Italy, after his capture of Syracuse from Arabic rule, on behalf of the Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...
Michael IV. Frederick II, as King of Sicily, had his architect Riccardo da Lentini rebuild it in 1232-1240. King Peter III of Aragon
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...
resided here with his family in 1288. From 1305 to 1536 the castle was used as residence by numerous queens of Sicily.
In the 15th century it was used as a prison. In the following century it was included in the fortification defending the harbour and the city. A huge explosion damaged it in 1704, after which it was renovated and adapted to the use of guns.
In 1799, King Ferdinand III, created Bronte as a Duchy, and rewarded admiral Horatio Nelson with the title of Duke for the help he had provided him in bloodily repressing the revolution in Naples and so in recovering his throne. As well as being made a Duke, Nelson was given as a fief the Castello Maniace, which at the time was the remains of a Benedictine Monastery. The Castle passed into the Bridport family when the 1st Viscount Bridport married the then Duchess of Bronte, who was Admiral Nelson's niece. The Bridports continued to live in the castle until 1982 when the current Viscount sold the property to the province of Catania. A recent book has been written about the Duchy: Nelson's Duchy: A Sicilian Anomaly by Michael Pratt. Today it is a local tourist attraction in Maniace, yet has been run down since the family left.
Later a barracks of the Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...
, it is now open to public.