Visit Milazzo castle
Milazzo castle stands on a hill high above the town of Milazzo, in north-east Sicily and it is the most important historic monument in the town.
The location at the top of this hill is ideal for defensive purposes and has been occupied since at least 6000 years ago. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also had defensive fortresses here, although most of what you see during a visit dates from the 15th-17th centuries.
Explore Milazzo castle
Italy This Way comment: although it is very large there is not a great deal to see in Milazzo castle, although it is interesting and has lovely views across the sea, so a vist is recommended if you find yourself with a day to spare in Milazzo, but wouldn't travel a long way just to visit the castle
It is preferable if you drive to the castle from Milazzo town centre: the walk is quite long, and on a hot day you are going to get enough sunshine once you are inside, with large open areas and courtyards!
Milazzo castle is an enormous medieval fortified castle with outer walls built in the 16th century that surrounded the original castle as well as several important town buildings, so you find a cathedral, for example, in the castle. This type of settlement is called a citadel, and common in this part of the Mediterranean. You enter the citadel through an imposing fortified gate walls.
You pass a room that was used as a foundry, and quickly reach the cathedral. This cathedral was built through most of the 17th century, and involved the demolition of several existing buildings and churches to make space.
The cathedral facade is very typical of those built in the region at this time, and incorporates decorative element such as pilasters and corinthian columns, at different levels in the facade as well as a large dome and four small domes on the roof. Despite these characteristics, the cathedral is quite small and plain compared with many in Sicily.
From here you reach the convent, also built in the 17th century, although an existing building connected to the convent was converted into a chapel, parts of which are still visible. The convent stayed in use until the early 18th century.
The series of inner walls in Milazzo castle, called the "Aragonese Walls" were built in the 15th century: older walls already stood here, dating from medieval times, that were restructured as part of the work. The result, as you can see, was a massive wall connected with strong bulwarks. The gate through these walls is through another impressive gateway in one of these bulwarks.
Inside the walls, the castle had a more military function with cannons, protected underground passages and vent holes to remove the toxic fumes. Most rooms are built as part of the walls around the edge of a very large courtyard. It was very hot on a sunny day, I can't imagine it was much fun carrying out military functions in here!
The fireplace room is one of the most interesting. There are two pointed arches that divide the room into three parts, one of which has access to a smaller room. This part of the castle is much older, and the information panel indicates that an important assembly was held here in 1295 (without supplying more information).
After exploring these areas of Milazzo castle, you can walk around enjoying the views that extend across the town as well as the sea to both sides of the Milazzo peninsula.
The building was changed from a castle to a prison in the 19th century. The prison closed about 60 years ago, and the castle was then abandoned for about 30 years. In recent years it has undergone several programs of renovation and is now open to the public.
There is a pretty sector of colourful houses called the Spanish Quarter, just outside the gates of the cathedral, although there are limited facilities here. A short distance north of the castle you can follow a very pretty walk around the Cape of Milazzo and on to the Piscine of Venus.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.