A few miles from Gela, on a hill surrounded by a small pinewood, overlooking the great plain and the hills that surround it, stands a medieval fortification called Castelluccio. From there you can enjoy a magnificent landscape, a view that goes southwards to the sea and northwards to the inland mountains.
The fortification with a narrow elongated rectangular plan dates back to the thirteenth century, a period in which the city of Heraclea was being built by Frederick II of Swabia, on the remains of the ancient Gela. The building was realized using the blocks of Timoleon’s Walls, which became in those years, along with the remains of Greek temples, genuine quarries for the construction of the city wanted by ‘Stupor Mundi’. In fact, it is not difficult to find capitals or drums of columns, among the walls of the castle, rough-hewn for the construction of the perimeter and interior walls.
The building inside has a ground floor divided into 5 main rooms, with slits and two large central windows from a subsequent period. The rooms were originally divided by 5 ogival arches, which also served to support the upper floor where other rooms were located. Nowadays, what remains of the arches is a rib, a substructure that had the task of “supporting” the ogival arch.
The Castelluccio has undergone several transformations and periods of abandonment over its almost eight centuries of life. In the sixteenth century, under the dukes Aragon Cortes and Pignatelli, the building was partly modified with the construction of a first floor and the opening of large windows.
There have been several legends about the Castelluccio, including that of the mysterious green lady who attracted unsuspecting peasants passing through with her songs and her ‘ghostly’ beauty.
|YEAR OF CONSTRUCTION||1143|
|CURIOSITY||There are numerous legends related to Castelluccio, including that linked to the mysterious green lady who attracted unsuspecting peasants passing through her songs and her “spectral” beauty.|
Written by: Giuseppe La Spina