The Castle

Historical sites

The rock site of Sperlinga Castle reveals traces of an important place of worship dating back to the Bronze Age. The ingrottati excavated in the sandstone and a large environment characterized by a tholos structure, as the different lustral basins present along the internal path, are the traces of a probable processional way that went up from the valley crossed by the river and led up to the top of the rock. The same toponym The castle assumes its present appearance in the Norman era, when with Roger I the construction of a formidable military fortress begins . On the occasion of the war of Vespers of 1282 the castle of Sperlinga gave refuge to a garrison Angevin, here could resist for a year to the siege of the army

Museum of peasant civilization

At the foot of the castle there are the ingrottati that house the Museum of Peasant Civilization. The environments had to be connected to the religious cult of the pre-hellenic age. In Byzantine times the place had to be used as a church: trace of this use consists of some fragments of frescoes present in the cave more internal. It was later adapted to the needs of the peasants. In 1982, thanks to the commitment of men of Sperlingo culture, the museum of peasant civilization was born, with the aim of preserving the memory of the tools and techniques used in the ancient houses and fields of the inhabitants of the country.
The identity of the country is linked above all to the language. The particular Gallo-Italic dialect spoken in this area has been perfectly preserved and constitutes a source of pride and distinction for the Sperlinghesi. The Gallo-Italic dialect derives from the inclusion in the territory of populations from northern Italy, in particular from the area of Emilia and Lombardy. This settlement operation was promoted by the Normans and had as its aim to create communities completely alien to the Arab and Byzantine culture of Sicily, which could at the same time provide valuable labor.


The entrance to the castle consists of an acute arched portal previously connected to a wooden drawbridge. The architecture reveals the severe Norman style. On the stones that constitute the key to the internal arch of the law a Latin hexrethron “quod siculis placuit sola Sperlinga negavit”, (what pleased the Sicilians only Sperlinga refused). The inscription on made sculpt on the stone in the sixteenth century, with the aim of stigmatizing the loyalty shown by the Sperlinghesi to the Angevins during the War of the Vespers in memory of those facts dating back to 1282, during the revolt of the Sicilian people against the Angevins, called Sicilian Vespers, when a garrison French, headed by Pietro de Lamanno, to escape the fury of the Sicilians , he barricaded himself inside the armed castle resisting for over a year. The episode of the resistance of the group of French soldiers in the castle also had a literary resonance, since Torquato Tasso himself quotes it in the Gerusalemme Liberata: “Sperlingo at the end pitiful to the Franks”.

A long corridor in the west part is occupied by the main cave of the site a few steps you reach a small courtyard, turning right you access a large room entirely dug into the sandstone rock, from here you can enter the “prince’s room”, which was to be the main residence of the feudal lord owner of the castle and the noble titles linked to it Princes and Dukes of Sperlinga , in the apartment, on the south-facing façade, there is an elegant fourteenth-century mullioned windows, the only architectural element of importance if you take away the nature of the site that here is art in itself.

Room of the prince and distinguished travelers

In the so-called Hall of the Prince restored in the early 2000s are housed panels that recall the great travelers who visited the castle. They range from the Arab historian and geographer Al-Idrisi, who in Ruggero’s book indicates Sperlinga as a rich and flourishing village; to the great travelers of the eighteenth century, always on the hunt for picturesque and unpublished images of Sicily; to the great draughtsman and mathematician Escher, who drew a drawing of the castle caves; to the photographer Robert Capa, who made in the surroundings of Sperlinga the most famous photographic shot of the military campaign conducted in Italy by the Allied troops. In the second room are housed copies of the coats of arms of the families who owned the castle. In this is visible the mullioned windows in Catalan Gothic style. The only survivor of the two that occupied the southern façade. The second was destroyed during the restoration work carried out at the beginning of the last century by the owners.
Back on your steps, continuing, you enter an environment, always dug into the rock, where you can see the traces of small rooms that were until 1812 the cells of a prison; further on stands out, at the top, a truncated-conical hood whose upper part disgorge into the wall of the castle, perhaps originally the place was used as a forge. In an eighteenth-century watercolor by J. Huell we notice a circular altar structure in Tholos at the base of which there was a circular structure no longer visible today. referable to a place of worship.
Back, along a corridor you arrive outside the castle after passing the so-called “False Door”. From this door, once hidden by vegetation, the “lord” entered with the carriage. Today there insists the Urban Park, used for various cultural and recreational events and is the seat of the “Teatro in Fortezza” summer theater festival of high cultural importance.

Historic Places

Discover the historic places of Sperlinga, where every corner tells compelling stories. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, with each stone resonating with a timeless narrative.

Municipality of Sperlinga

Via Salita Municipio 2 - 94010 Sperlinga (EN)
Codice fiscale / P. IVA: 00114480866

Contact center: Tel. 0935-643025 - Fax 0935-643119
Mobile: +39 347 913 1485

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