Monday, December 04, 2006

Mussomeli: il Castello Manfredonico Chiaramontano

Of the 200 fortresses in the entire island of Sicily, indubitably the most inaccessible of all is Mussomeli Castle. A masterpiece of 14th- and 15th-cent. military architecture, it was built by Manfredi III Chiaramonte, one of the four deputies who governed the island during the reign of Queen Mary in the 1370s.
Located some 2 km from the town of Mussomeli, with heights up to 780 metres, it appears as an integral part of a rocky limestone crag that towers in solitary isolation above the countryside of Caltanissetta. Walking through this amazing creation we saw lofty cross-vaulted halls in almost every room and one thing that still stands out in my memory was the "Prison of Death". Here, the condemned were lowered through a trapdoor and drowned. The castle had high step thresholds, so in a chase an invader would trip and fall if they weren’t aware of them. They say that this castle is haunted…

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