9 Iconic Buildings 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 Donnafugata castle is located in the territory of the municipality of Ragusa, about 15 kilometers from the city. The current building, contrary to what the name might suggest, is a sumptuous noble residence of the late 19th century. The residence overlooked what were the possessions of the rich Arezzo De Speeches family. Upon arrival, the castle reveals its sumptuousness: the building covers an area of over 7500 square meters on 3 floors in neo-Gothic style, crowned by two side towers tha
The castle of Lombardy, a symbolic building of the city of Enna, is an imposing fortress that stands on the highest point of the city. With its 26,000 m² of surface, it is one of the largest medieval castles in Italy, together with the castle of Brescia and the castle of Lucera. The castle of Lombardy is the architectural symbol of the city even before the tower of Federico II, its most important monument and one of the most visited in the Sicilian hinterland.
Teatro Massimo, in Palermo, is the largest opera house in Italy, one of the largest in Europe and third in terms of architectural magnitude after the Opéra National in Paris and the Staatsoper of Vienna. Representative rooms, halls, galleries, and monumental stairways surround the actual theater, forming an architectural complex of enormous proportions.
The Ancient Theater of Taormina is the second largest ancient theater in Sicily after the Greek Theater of Syracuse. It is excavated in the rock and the scene has the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna as a background . It has a maximum diameter of about 109 meters and a height of about 20 meters. The auditorium is divided into nine sectors with eight stairways that allow spectators access. Today the theater, in addition to being used as a tourist place, is mainly used for concerts amd so more.
The Teatro Massimo Bellini is the representation center of the ' work of Catania. It was inaugurated on 31 May 1890 with a performance of the composer's masterwork, Norma. It seats 1,200. The neo-baroque style façade of the theater is inspired by the Sansovinian classic of the Marciana National Library in Venice. The rest of the building, however, is detached from it in the lateral development, assuming the form of a theater.
The Villa Romana del Casale is a Roman villa Urbana built in the first quarter of the 4th century and located about 3 km outside the town of Piazza Armerina, Sicily, southern Italy. It contains the richest, largest, and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the world, and has been designated as one of 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy.