Built at the will of Manfredi III of Chiaramonte in 1364, the castle is linked to stories of conspiracies, betrayals and… ghosts!

Not only classical art or baroque art, in Sicily it is also possible to visit splendid testimonies of medieval art, among Arab-Norman roads, ancient villages and castles. Positioned on an inaccessible cliff, so much so that it seems a majestic eagle nest, perfectly camouflaged in the limestone rock, we find one of the sicilian castles with the best scenographic impact: the Castello di Mussomeli, also known as the Castello Manfredonico. The name derives from Manfredi III of Chiaramonte, the Duke of Modica who decided to create the castle at the point where a previous fort of the swabian period was located, because it was conquered by the inaccessible position that made it perfect from a strategic point of view. It is said that it was built in just three years, between 1364 and 1367.

The castle is two kilometers east from the town of Mussomeli, in the province of Caltanissetta, above a cliff about 778 meters high. Few traces remain of the previous fortress of the swabian people: between this there is the chapel, which is located in the internal enclosure. What can be seen today, however, is the work of a restoration intervention carried out at the beginning of the 15th century by the lords of Mussomeli, the Castellar family. The castle, in fact, was confiscated from the Chiaramonte and owned by several noble families, including the Castellar, to become owned by Don Cesare Lanza in 1549, remaining to his family for the next 4 centuries. Used as prison in the early 1600s, he was then abandoned and left in degradation until the restoration interventions that were carried out in 1911, by the architect Ernesto Arnò, and in the early 2000s, with an investment of over 2 million euros.

It is important from the historical and the artistic point of view too, it is the Sala dei Baroni: in this salon with precious chiaramonte-style portals also called “conspiracy of the barons” took place, a meeting between sicilian nobles to conspire against the Aragonese and marry Federico III’s daughter of Aragon with Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, rather than with the Aragonese prince Martino. Between kidnappings, deceptions, disapproved marriages by the pope and attempts to cancel, in the end the conspiracy returned against the Chiaramonte family, with the hanging of Andrea Chiaramonte in Palermo and the confiscation of all the properties, including the Castello di Mussomeli.

The dining room and the chimney hall have gothic elements, which can also be seen outside between the ogival arches and mild, while the bedroom has a double cruise time. You can also visit the feudal prison, the armoury, the Camera della morte (so called for the presence of some dangerous trapdoors) and the Stanza delle tre donne (room of the three women), who took this name from a legend: it is said that Prince Federico had 3 beautiful sisters, Clotilde, Costanza and Margherita. When he was called to go to war, to prevent them from happening something unbecoming, closed them in a room by providing them with the necessary to survive, then making the door blend. But the war lasted longer than expected and, when he returned, the prince found the three death sisters and with his shoes in the mouth in the extreme try not to die of hunger.

It is said that the complaints and screams of the three women can still be heard today. It links to another castle, that of Carini, another tragic sicilian legend: Cesare Lanza married his daughter Laura to Don Vincenzo La Grua Talamanca, Baron of Carini, who however disinterested in his wife. She had therefore found a lover. To defend the honour of the family, Cesare Lanza went to Carini Castle and, taking them in the act, assassinated him. Returning to Mussomeli, Cesare Lanza felt remorse for the crime committed and found refuge in the castle. The ghost of his daughter would still wander in Mussomeli’s castle in search of his father.

Precisely for its history and, above all, for its beauty, the castle of Mussomeli was used among the locations for the fiction “L’amaro caso della Baronessa di Carini”. With its unique position, its huge, its state of conservation and its stories, the Mussomeli’s Castle attracts hundreds of tourists every year that can first live the medieval atmosphere and imagine intrigues and conspiracies, majestic parties and ghosts that they wander at night… Amazing Mussomeli, Amazing Sicily!

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