CAMMARATA'S CASTEL

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panorama di cammarata con la piazza e il

We do not yet know any documents that can testify to the origins of the castle, so that the period in which it had to be built and the man who ordered its construction appear unknown. The first acts in which we read about the castle date back to 1100 and refer to the domain of Lucia. "In the first documents on Cammarata, the donations of Lucia, the" castellum Cameratae "is named as the title of the town; it is therefore to think that if there had not been a castle the denomination would not make sense. Therefore it is not illogical to believe that, from those times, at least, there existed, also for the position of the highest place to the military fortifications, a fortified castle with around it a country of which Lucia was the "dominatrix" ». Barone and Giarratana in the thesis «Problems of the Territory of Cammarata» affirm: «It seems reasonable to suppose that the castle is coeval or slightly later than the rise of the town itself, bearing in mind that the initial reason for being of the castle in general, as it is its its main function is to protect the underlying farmhouse, its economy, its interests and thus guarantee its existence and development ". In fact «the castle ... dominates the village and can be thought to have arisen after the town». Francesco Caruso, on the other hand, writes that the castle is older than the town: "Castrum antiquius oppido admirabili conditum artificio".

According to the Pasca the castle was "built by Bartolomeo di Aragona in 1384" while the Tirrito "considers it manufactured by Ottobono de Aurea, around 1340". The suppositions of the Pasca and the Tirrito must be understood not as foundations «ex novo», but as vast restructurings and extensions of the primitive nucleus up to reach the complex current configuration. Make the arch. 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 volume of the defensive elements, while the inhabited nucleus will be moved further down into a orographically underlying site to constitute the so-called "Earth", 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 12th to the 14th century, the primitive fortification on the rocky plateau will progress architecturally until it reaches the size of a large castle equipped with four towers ».

"In the castle - writes Msgr. De Gregorio - the lords of Cammarata lived for a long time ... One sees an image of it, which was at the beginning of 1600, in the framework of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier in the Mother Church: it is a quadrangular building with four towers and is surrounded by crenellated walls and defensive 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 rock on which it rests and to the east and south and to the west by the other fortifications " .

The earthquake of 1537, the carelessness of the time and the poor resistance of the land have produced serious damage over time to the castle of which they caused the western part and two of the towers to collapse.

«Of them, - write Barone and Giarratana - only two are still visible today; of only one can see some ruins on which the ancient noble coat of arms of the Palizzis is clearly legible and received the fief of Cammarata by Frederick II in the year 1302. The second is better preserved and used as a 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 of the plan 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; in 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. Finally, the north side is reinforced by the other tower which is also circular, whose radius is meters 3.50, with a thickness of 2.20 meters walls ».

"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 he passed" to the Salesians, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, to establish an orphanage there ".

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