Looking for amazing castles in Sicily?
Sicily, an island of sun and history, is home to stunning architectural treasures. Among them, the castles in Sicily shine brightest, offering a journey into the past, captivating travellers and history enthusiasts alike. Ready for an unforgettable exploration? Let’s dive into Sicily’s most mesmerizing fortresses.
Best Castles in Sicily
Many things make Sicilian castles different from castles built during that same period of history, including elaborate frescoes and a wide variety of architectural styles. Here are the best castles in Sicily to visit on your next trip
#1 Castello di Venere, Palermo
Located in a scenic destination overlooking Palermo, you’ll find one of Italy’s most famous castles: Castello di Venere. This Norman castle, built during Sicily’s prosperous 11th century, is perched atop cliffs that overlook Capo San Vito.
You can visit Castello di Venere on a day trip from Palermo. Kids will enjoy walking around castle walls and seeing some of the animals kept on site (but they’re not really allowed inside).
There’s also a small gift shop where you can buy gifts or souvenirs for friends back home
#2 Milazzo Castle, Milazzo
This is a 12th-century Norman castle located in the province of Messina, Sicily. It is an interesting example of military architecture from the time of the Normans.
Castello di Milazzo was built by Roger II of Sicily, who was inspired by his father’s example and built many castles in Sicily and Malta.
To visit this castle, you can do a day trip from Messina since there are not many things to do besides walking around its grounds.
Castello di Milazzo, is also good for families with kids because it doesn’t require too much walking around, and there aren’t many steps involved in getting around inside the castle itself (but there are some).
#3 Castello di Donnafugata, Ragusa
Castello di Donnafugata is a perfect example of Norman architecture with its thick walls and imposing size. The castle was built on top of a hill overlooking the town of Castelbuono and dominates the surrounding countryside for miles.
The castle has been listed as a monument since 1925 and is open to visitors from April to October.
#4 Castello di Caccamo, Caccamo
Castello di Caccamo is a castle located in Caccamo, Sicily. It’s a medieval castle built between the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Normans built the castle as part of their conquest of Sicily. It’s been used as a prison, and today it’s open for visitors.
Castello di Caccamo is an excellent place for kids! There are lots of things for them to climb on and explore, like towers, walls, and towers! There are also some beautiful gardens with peacocks roaming freely (if you’re lucky).
#5 Aci Castello, Catania
The medieval town of Aci Castello is a beautiful place to visit with kids. The old town is perched on a hill overlooking the sea, and some great views from the castle overlook the town.
You can tour this ancient fortress, which the Normans built in the 11th century. If your kids are up for an adventure, you can take them on a hike through the park surrounding Aci Castello and explore nature’s wonders at close range.
#6 Mussomeli Castle, Mussomeli
The castle at Mussomeli is one of the oldest in Sicily, dating back to the 13th century. It was built by the Normans and then renovated by Robert Guiscard in 1060. Today, it’s mostly ruined, with some portions still standing tall.
The castle is strategically overlooking the town, and its residents still use it as a lookout point for spotting fires and other dangers that might threaten their town. It’s also a great place to watch sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea.
There are no guided tours available at Mussomeli Castle, but there are plenty of signs around explaining what you’re looking at if you want to learn more about this historic site before.
#7 Donnafugata Castle, Donnalucata
It was built by the Zisa family, who were originally from Genoa. Donnafugata Castle was completely renovated in the 19th century, and today it is used as a hotel and restaurant.
It can be visited during the summer months and has three towers that you can climb to get a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
The best way to get there is by car or bus (the bus stop is about 5 minutes from the town). It’s also possible to rent bicycles to ride around the area.
There are no specific activities or tours for children at this castle, but it’s still possible to explore this beautiful place!
#8 Sperlinga Castle
Sperlinga Castle is a royal palace built during the period when the island was under Arab rule. It’s not a castle in the classic sense of the word, but more of a palace used by rulers to live, study and entertain guests.
The castle is also known as “The Palace of Count Roger,” who was a Norman count who conquered the island around 1060.
The main feature of Sperlinga Castle is its mullioned windows on all sides. A mullion is an architectural term for a vertical member which separates two windows or panels.
The building has two floors with a central courtyard with arched openings leading into each room.
#9 Castello Maniace, Syracuse
Castello Maniace is an ancient temple dedicated to Hercules, built by the Ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC.
Best to visit Castello Maniace is on a day trip from Syracuse. If you’re travelling with kids, they might be interesting because they could climb all over the ruins and play hide-and-seek between those big stones!
#10 Erice Castle, Erice
If you’re in Italy with kids, don’t forget this medieval castle restored to its original condition.
The castle is open all year round and can be visited free of charge. It’s a great place to see if you’re looking for a day trip with kids or want a break from the beach!
You can visit Erice Castle with kids, but it’s not recommended for very young children because there are some steep steps to climb and narrow passages inside the castle that might be difficult for them to pass through.
#11 Caccamo Castle
The castle was initially built as a fortress, but now it hosts several museums with archaeological finds from ancient times until today.
The most interesting part is definitely the museum dedicated to the Palermo’ ndrangheta mafia family, which had its headquarters here before being arrested by police forces.
This is an interesting place for children because it has a lot of old objects from different eras that they can touch and play with (like suits of armour).
There are also many places where kids can climb on things like staircases or benches so they won’t get bored during the visit.
#12 Venus Castle, Erice
The Castello di Venere is built on a hill overlooking the island of Ustica and is one of the most important examples of Norman architecture in Sicily.
The castle consists of a rectangular plan with four towers at each corner. A small courtyard precedes the entrance gate. The interior has been restored recently and now contains several halls decorated with frescoes and medieval furniture.
The castle has been used as a prison since the 18th century; at present, it houses a museum dedicated to the history of Ustica.
#13 Ursino Castle, Catania
Castello Ursino was built in 1353 and was used as a fortification against Saracen pirates. It has been restored many times but still retains its original design.
The castle is open to visitors, and there are guided tours available along with an audio tour that can be downloaded to your phone.
There is also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and other items related to the castle and food and drinks if you feel like having something while you’re there.
The Ursino Castle is ideal for families with children because it’s not too big or too small, so everyone can enjoy the tour without getting tired too quickly!
There are also many different sections within the castle, such as the main building, towers, and dungeons, so there’s plenty to see around every corner!
#14 Castello Di Calatabiano
The Normans built the castle during their rule of Sicily (11th century) as a refuge for their troops in case Saracen forces attacked them.
The castle is open to visitors all year round but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. There is no entrance fee, but donations are accepted, with proceeds for restoration work on the site.
#15 Castello del Conte Luna
The castle was built as a summer residence for Frederick II, who was called “Stupor Mundi” or “The Wonder of the World” because he was such an able ruler that people thought he was miraculous.
The castle is open to visitors, and tours are available to those who want a glimpse into its history.
The castle has been renovated several times but retains many original features, like its large fortified walls and towers.
The interior includes beautiful frescoes and decorations and numerous rooms where visitors can relax and enjoy themselves while visiting Sicily’s beautiful countryside in spring or summertime.
#16 Zisa Palace, Palermo
Zisa Palace is located in the heart of Palermo, where the ancient Arab castle once stood.
Today the palace houses the National Museum of Ceramics, which exhibits ceramic sculptures from Sicily from the Middle Ages to today. You can also admire works by famous Sicilian artists such as Giuseppe Velasco and Francesco Lojacono.
You can visit Zisa Palace on your own or as part of a tour, but it’s better if you have at least half an hour to spend inside because there are many things to see here! If you are short on time, take a quick walk around this beautiful place.
FAQs: Castles in Sicily
How many castles are there in Sicily?
A lot! There are over 200 castles in Sicily, but not all are open to the public. Some are private homes, and the military still uses others.
Is there a Norman Castle in Sicily?
Yes. Around two-thirds of these fortresses and castles were built during the Norman conquest of the island in 1061 and later conquered by the Arabs.
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.