top of page

Cammarata -San Giovanni Gemini

Your next destination in Sicily in the Sicani mountains

A mountain of excellence
cammarata castle

The castle of Cammarata

Between History and Legend: Discovering the Tower of Cammarata

cammarata castle

The history of the castle

We have no news to date of documents that can testify the origins of the castle, so not only the period of its construction is unknown, but also the identity of the lord who ordered its construction. The first documents in which we read of the castle date back to 1100 and refer to the dominion of Lucia. «In the first documents on Cammarata, Lucia's donations, the" castellum Cameratae "is named as the title of the town; it is therefore to be thought that if there had not been a castle the denomination would have no sense. Therefore it is not illogical to believe that, since those times, at least, a fortified castle existed, also due to the position of the very high place of the military fortifications, with a town around it, of which Lucia was the "dominatrix". "Barone and Giarratana in thesis "Problems of the Territory of Cammarata" state: "It seems reasonable to suppose that the castle is contemporary or slightly later than the rise of the town itself, bearing in mind that the initial raison d'etre of the castle in general, as its main function, is that of protecting the underlying farmhouse, its economy, its interests and therefore guaranteeing its existence and development. "In fact," The castle ... dominates the village and can be thought of as having risen after the inhabited center. "Francesco Caruso, on the other hand, he writes that the castle is the oldest in the town: «Castrum antiquius oppido admirabili conditum artificio».

«Of them, - Barone and Giarratana write - only two are still visible today; of one you can only see some ruins on which the ancient noble coat of arms of the Palizzi that received the fiefdom of Cammarata by Frederick II in the year 1302 is clearly legible. The second is instead better preserved and has long been used as a district prison ; on the outside the noble coat of arms of the Moncada family is clearly legible. From the examination of the remaining ruins it is possible to establish that the layout is substantially rectangular; of the longer sides, the one facing west measures 50 meters, while the length of the east side is 52 meters. The south side measures 38 meters; on this side you can see the ruins of one of the two remaining towers, from which it can be deduced that its shape was circular.The north side, finally, is strengthened by the other tower also of circular shape, whose radius is meters 3.50, with a wall thickness of 2.20 meters ».

"After the end of feudalism between the municipality and the Paternò heirs" a long controversy arose. Only «in 1838 the castle was occupied by the Municipality. Later Vincenzo Collari bought it ”, who sold it to Don Giuseppe Longo from whom it passed“ to the Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, to establish an orphanage there ”.

The castle tower is  open to the public on certain occasions, It is found send Pia door between 4/15. It is recommended to walk there from via Roma. Reference: URP  Cammarata  0922 593880

ancient photo of the castle

Back to the Culture section

Go to the nature section

castle tower

According to Pasca, the castle was "built by Bartolomeo di Aragona in 1384" while Tirrito "believes it was built by Ottobono de Aurea, around 1340". The assumptions of Pasca and Tirrito must be understood not as "ex novo" foundations, but as extensive restructuring and expansion of the primitive nucleus up to the current complex configuration. Rodo Santoro - scholar of Sicilian castles - states: «The castle was born from a small farmhouse with a tower and fortified walls.

Subsequently this nucleus will accentuate its castle character with progressive enlargements and reinforcements in the volumetry of the defensive elements, while the residential nucleus will be moved further down to the orographically underlying site to form the so-called "Terra", that is the feudal village. The latter, for defensive reasons, will also be surrounded by a wall, but must always remain detached from the castle. From the twelfth to the fourteenth century the primitive fortification on the rocky plateau will progress architecturally until it reaches the size of a large castle with four towers ».

  «In the castle - writes Msgr. De Gregorio - the lords of Cammarata lived for a long time ... You can see an image of it, as it was at the beginning of 1600, in the painting of S. Ignazio and S. Francesco Saverio in the Mother Church: it is a quadrangular building with four towers and is surrounded by crenellated walls and defense works. It is isolated from the other buildings of the town and dominates from the hill on which it stands, in a truly strategic position, difficult to take because it is defended to the north-east by the overhanging fortress on which it rests and to the east and south and west by the other fortifications " .

The earthquake of 1537, the neglect of time and the poor resistance of the ground have over time produced serious damage to the castle of which the western part and two of the towers collapsed.

castle entrance

How it looks today

museum in cammarata
cammarata museum
Cammarata period clothes

Entrance to the museum

Show period clothing

Multimedia rooms

photographic exhibitions

Today, Cammarata Castle appears in a renewed light, thanks to recent conservation and renovation efforts. One of the most obvious examples is the castle tower, which has been carefully restored to return a piece of its historical legacy to the community.

The management of the castle has been entrusted to the Pro Loco of Cammarata, a local organization dedicated to promoting the cultural and tourist heritage of the town. Thanks to this collaboration, the castle is now open to the public, although advance booking is required. 

The entrustment of the castle to the Pro Loco has had a positive impact on the cultural life of Cammarata, making the castle a real center of events. Depending on the season and the occasion, you can attend various events organized by the organization, including concerts, art exhibitions, food festivals, and theater performances. 

These demonstrations not only attract visitors from around the world, but also strengthen the sense of community among local residents as they gather around a central piece of their shared history. 

In this way, the Cammarata Castle not only preserves the stories and legends of the past, but continues to give birth to new ones, keeping its role alive in the social and cultural fabric of Cammarata. So its history continues to evolve, in a continuous dialogue between past and present, between memory and innovation.


A strata carrozza (via Roma)

To get to the castle tower where you can first admire a beautiful view of  San Giovanni Gemini, we recommend a nice walk trying to park  in the Via Roma Alta area, or even better  it would be to park in via Padre Pio where there is a lot of parking possibilities and go a little longer but without having peace of mind as the streets are very narrow in this historic area. Then another  idea would be: Going up from Via Coffari you can get to the living nativity area of Cammarata and venture into the Arab quarter  Called "Mastia" for sure you will have fun seeing all the small alleys and ancient houses attached to the rock.

Where to sleep


bottom of page