10 HIDDEN JEMS IN SIRACUSA
#7 – The 10 Hidden Jems in Siracusa: Maniace Castle
Right in the historical center of Siracusa, in a strategic and breathtaking location which will but amaze the visitor, the Maniace Castle is a must-see if you’re strolling along the streets of Ortigia, and it would be unforgivable of us if we didn’t include it in our list of the ten most beautiful places in Siracusa.
Once you enter the gate and after walking along the small bridge (once a lift bridge) which isolated the fortress from the dry land, you’ll be immediately amazed by the majestic building; what’s amazing above all else is the grace of its squared shape: a mighty, perfectly symmetric structure.
You will find the ambience of the castle is very evocative because of the visible fusion between a Burgundy element (Burgundy was home to Frederick I) and Arabian influences – some words must also be spent over the breathtaking view, the castle being the perfect viewpoint to admire the old town and the peninsula of the Maddalena.
No matter where you’ll look out from, you will see the sea and breathe in the history of Siracusa.
This is the most ancient of the Swabian castles in Sicily and originally it was built to meet the empire’s military needs and as a defense point from its enemies. The castle is named after the Byzantine general Giorgio Maniace who was the first to build fortifications in this location. The original structure is the work of Frederick II of Swabia and it dates all the way back to 1232 ca. It is situated on the coast, a strategic point because from it was possible to dominate the sea on one side and the town on the other. It is found on the extremity of the Ortigia island.
Four towers are to be found on the four corners of the structure which are the key element of any Medieval castle defensive layout. The four towers made the structure look like a Roman castrum (encampment).
Frederick II would pride himself on his considerable open-mindedness and was very close to the Muslim religion. It is no coincidence that the castle hall named after him faces east just as a Mosque.
Every day from 9 AM to 1:45 PM. Ticket office closes at 1 PM.
Ticket costs 2€
Address: Piazza Federico di Svevia, Ortigia