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Castello Maniace

Castello Maniace sits on a large headland in Syracuse. The castle is also a citadel that the Emperor Frederick II ordered his architect Riccardo da Lentini to build in 1232 . The castle was finished in 1240. It was designed following the typical military architectural style of Frederick’s reign: a square shape with round towers on the corners. A bridge over the moat was the only way to enter the castle. An outstanding feature is its portal adorned with polychrome marbles.
It has been named in honour of George Maniakes the Byzantine general who laid siege to Syracuse and took it in 1038. He had the first fort built in the same place in 1038 when he recovered the city that had been seized by the Arabs.
The family of Peter III of Aragon and the king himself lived in it in 1288. The castle was the residence of many queens of Sicily from 14th century to 16th century. It also served as prison in 15th century and as a fortress to protect Syracuse. At the beginning of 18th century it was badly damaged and rebuilt later on. Afterwards, it became the Italian Army’s barracks.
At present the castle is open to public wishing to enjoy an important piece of Syracuse’s history.