5 Notable Architectures to explore in Sicily
Sicily is the biggest island in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea, an amazing land rich in history and traditions, where art and culture intertwine with wonderful natural beauties. From the sea to the mountains and countryside, from the volcanos to the fishing villages, there are really many reasons why to visit Sicily. As Frederick II, King of Sicily, once said: “I don't envy God's paradise, because I'm well satisfied to live in Sicily”.
Zisa Castle was built in the 12th century by Arab craftsmen as a summer retreat for King William I of Sicily. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with handsome windows overlooking the gardens. The Zisa is clearly inspired by Moorish architecture. The name Zisa itself derives from the Arab term al-Azīz, meaning "dear" or "splendid". The same word, in Naskh script, is impressed in the entrance, according to the usual habit for the main Islamic edifices of the time.
The Castello di Maniace is a manor house built on the site of a former ancient monastery 1 km east of the centre of the small village of Maniace. Originally, one could only enter the castle over a bridge spanning a moat. A feature of the castle is the decorated portal. Today the castle is open to the public and is a local tourist attraction in Syracuse.
The Ursino Castle in Catania was built by Frederick II of Swabia in the XIII century. The manor had certain visibility during the Sicilian Vespers, as the seat of the parliament and, later, the residence of the Aragonese kings including Frederick III. Today it houses the Civic Museum of the Etnean city, formed mainly by the Biscari and Benedictine collections.
The Cathedral of San Nicolò is the most important Catholic place of worship in the city of Noto, as well as the bishop's seat of the diocese of the same name, in Sicily. It is located on the top of a large staircase, on the north side of Piazza Municipio, and is dedicated to San Nicolò, bishop of Mira. The interior, with three naves, houses numerous works of art, some of which come from Noto Antica, including the silver urn containing the mortal remains of St. Corrado Confalonieri.
Palazzo Abatellis is an ancient noble palace located in Palermo via Alloro, the main artery of the Kalsa district. It has been the seat of the Regional Gallery of Sicily since 1954. It was an example of Gothic-Catalan architecture, which was designed in the 15th century by Matteo Carnelivari, at the time working in Palermo at the palazzo Aiutamicristo. It was the residence of Francesco Abatellis, port master of the Kingdom of Sicily.