Montalbano Elicona Castle
The Montalbano Elicona Castle stands on a hillock overlooking and dominating the town of the same name.
The area of the castle of Montalbano Elicona is identified with the primitive Roman fortress on which the subsequent Byzantine and Arab fortifications settle, culminating in the reconstruction carried out by the Normans. In the more than eight centuries of history, the castle has passed ownership several times due to alternating vicissitudes. The first written documentation is due to the Arab traveling geographer Idrisi who lists it in the 1154 Book of Roger as a quadrangular watchtower placed at noon provided with defensive walls. The original summit nucleus was born as a military garrison but, due to its position, it soon turns out to be inefficient and ineffective as a defensive bulwark. The fortification, although located over 900 meters above sea level, controls a limited part of the coast and of the access routes located on the Tyrrhenian coast.
In the castle there are two buildings: the oldest, probably dating back to the Norman era, consists of a rectangle, protected in the center of the short sides by two imposing crenellated towers. This is the keep, now half ruined whose visit is not allowed to the public today; the other nucleus, dating back to the Aragonese era, is represented by an enclosure in which a first order is distinguished consisting of a series of large slits and a second order consisting of 18 windows and 2 portals. There are two entrances to the Aragonese fortification: the main entrance from via Castello which leads directly onto the large courtyard and from a second entrance, on the opposite side, surmounted by a pointed arch. In the large courtyard there is a cistern, the fifteenth-century external staircase, and the palatine chapel with a square plan and octagonal dome. In May 2015, a glass case dedicated to the memory of Arnaldo da Villanova was placed inside the royal chapel where there is a stone sarcophagus that would contain some of his bones. From the courtyard, finally, a stone staircase with a railing leads to the fortress at the top of the cliff from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view.
Inside the Castle there are two permanent exhibitions: the first dedicated to White Arms, the second to Medieval Musical Instruments.