The town of Catania

Tourism in Catania

The Ursino Castle

The Castle was built on an upland surrounded by the sea between 1239 and 1250 for Federick II's will.

In this placed have lived the Aragoneses durind the XIV century.

Near the middle of 1700 it was encircled by imposing walls for the sake of defence and later it was changed in its southern part according to Renaissance mark.

The building was considerably damaged by the eruption in 1669 and later also by the earthquakes in 1693 and 1818. These were the reasons which led to further and imposing works of repair.

Photo © Luigi Nifosì 

Aerial view The Ursino Castle

The castle in 1837 was turned into a prison.

The building shows a square plan with a keep 30 metres high at each corner and with semicircular towers in the middle of each side.

The entry opens with a lancet arch on the front which is dominated by the Swabians' coat-of-arm an eagle which claws a hare.

Going along the perimeter of the Castle, it is possible to admire moats still intact, the scarp base of the towers and Renaissance windows on the southern side.

The insides are in good state and are kept works of notable artistic value.

Photo © Affinità Elettive 

The Ursino Castle

Among these, worth mentioning are first of all the bearing structures of various rooms, adorned with elegant rib vaults, with precious inlaid capitals and big ogival arches.

Decorations which characterize the numerous rooms, giving them the finishing touch, are not inferior to other elements.

Of best workmanship are statues such as Afrodite (Aphrodite) of Hellenistic stamp; Il Torso di Eracle (Heracles' trunk) dated back to the IV century B.C., I Gladiatori (The Gladiators) a Roman relief on lavic stone.

Photo © Affinità Elettive 

The Ursino Castle

Very suggestive it is also the coloured mosaic made on the floor and symbolically represents the months of January and March.

Very interesting are also the various paintings which adorn most of walls. Worthy of particular attention are also La Predica (The sermon) made by Agostino Salinas (1862), the Madonna col Bambino (Our Lady with Christ Child) attributable to Lorenzo di Credi and L'Addio (Farewell) made by Francesco Paolo Michetti (1851-1929).

Finally there are the precious collection of ivories and the rare collection of bronzes both dated back to XVIII.

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