The Ursino Castle
A must-see attraction while staying in Catania is the Ursino castle (Castello Ursino), just a fifteen-minute leisurely stroll through Catania’s old town from our bed and breakfast.
It was built in the first half of the 13th century at the behest of King Frederick II of Swabia and was intended as a defensive bulwark, mainly from sea attacks: a symbol of Swabian power in the city. The name “Ursino” probably comes from ‘sinus’, or ‘gulf’ because the castle was located on a rugged headland overlooking the sea of Catania.
The castle was the royal seat of the Aragonese and Castiglione houses until the 16th century, during which time it began its decay: part of it was used as a prison while the eruptions of Mount Etna in the second half of the 17th century undermined its foundations and caused damage to the entire structure.
Since the first half of the twentieth century, the Castle has returned to its former glory, due to undergoing restoration, and the structure is now one of Catania’s most beautiful attractions both historically and artistically.
The Ursino castle is home to the Civic Museum with two very important collections: the Benedictine collection, and another one that was located in the Biscari Museum, along with other works that belonged to private individuals. Due to the high number of works the museum was divided into archaeological, medieval, Renaissance and modern sections. There is also a section dedicated to artists from Catania. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the Ursino castle also hosts temporary exhibitions and events.
We can highly recommend a guided tour so that you can discover all the details relating to the history of the Castle and the Museum. The medieval fortress is located in Piazza Federico II di Svevia and is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The cost of a ticket is 6 euros.
To discover all the most important tourist attractions in Catania, please contact the staff at our reception.