Pietratagliata Castle in Aidone

Pietratagliata Castle in Aidone


 Strada Provinciale 67 - Aidone (EN)

The Castle of Pietratagliata di Aidone is also known as Casteddu di Gresti, from the name of the district in which it was built. The name "Pietratagliata" instead refers to the presence of the rooms cut into the rock.
There is no news about its construction date, the existing structure is of Arab-Norman era but the first documentable historical sources date back to the fourteenth century when the fief and fortress of Pietratagliata was assigned by Frederick III of Sicily, with a privilege, to Perronus de Iuenio. Later the castle passed to various owners including the baron Caprini who in 1668 had an epigraph in Latin engraved on the architrave of an ogival window on a marble slab. Today there is no trace of this epigraph and, although historical sources refer that it is a dedication by Caprini to his successor, popular tradition has it that it is linked to a legendary truss .
The castle of Pietratagliata stands out on a rocky structure that rests on extensive impermeable clayey layers: in fact, in the riverbed there is a small lake, called the urn, which is preserved even in the summer when the same stream is dry.
The fortress is made up of structures that have overlapped and placed side by side over the centuries: caves that were prehistoric dwellings, the fortress of sighting and signaling, and finally the further expansion of the building complex, that is the warehouses and the rustic houses of what had now become a feudal fortified farm.
The structure is extends over four levels: on the first level, which is also the more ancient there are rural houses and a large cave that opens with a loggia to the south and a window and loggia to the north. On the second level from which the full tower also begins and the staircase carved into the rock starts, there are two rooms: an entrance and a room with a window bordered by masonry benches. On the third level, the second floor where the representative rooms are located, there are four rooms carved into the rock and others in masonry. On the fourth level there is an environment with an entrance portal which is believed to have been a chapel and a cistern for collecting rainwater.
The characterizing element of the castle is the high full tower, firmly anchored to the rock, visible at great distances. It has walls with compact surfaces, highlighted by edges built in perfectly squared stone blocks; access to the terrace of the tower was allowed by a stupendous spiral staircase, with basalt steps, placed in the south-east corner.
The presence of numerous similar castles makes it plausible to assume that the castle was inserted within a optical signaling network, formerly known as fani, which made it possible to quickly transmit a signal even over a great distance.

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