The Castle of Calatabiano

Gisella Lo Castro


The historical origins of Calatabiano are linked to the origins of its castle that is situated on a hill, 250 m above the sea level. The village toponym has in fact an Arabic etymology: it derives from the words kaalat that means castle and Bian, that is the name of the kakim, its first administrator or lord. The present conformation of the castle is of Arabic origin (IX century), even though Byzantine relics have been found out during recent archaeological excavations. Therefore, this makes us think of the presence of some fortifications since the late Roman Age.

The fortress was re-established and reinforced under the domination of the Arabs. In 1135, during the Reign of Ruggero II, Calatabiano became a “Signoria” under the Lords Pagano and Gualtieri, Counts of Avellino. They were succeeded by: Arnaldo de Regio, Gualtieri de Palearis, Pietro Ruffo, Ruggero di Lauria, Arrigo Rosso Artale Alagona.
 In 1396 the castle was passed to the Cruyllas family, who originated from Catalonia. They restored the it, reconstructing several halls and re-establishing the Palatine Chapel. Under the Cruyllas family the manor went through a period of great magnificence, thanks to the role of Berengario, who was a Royal Councillor and general Deputy of Sicily.
Berengario was succeded by his son Giovanni, who ordered the construction of a beautiful arch in the largest and best preserved room inside the castle. In the keystone of the arch there are two rounded shields where the coats of arm of the great and powerful Cruyllas family is carved out. The first (placed eastward) shows six crosses and six little circles; the other (westward) shows nine crosses. Giovanni did not have sons, therefore after his death he was succeeded by his brother Berengario who was succeeded in his turn by his sons Calcerano, Berengario and Giovanni.
Giovanni was the last member of the Cruyllas family to reign over Calatabiano. Afterwards,  the Gravina family took the possession of the castle and Ignazio II was the last Lord who resided there, as the terrible earthquake of 1963 destroyed it almost completely.


Virginia Vaccaro
Testi | texts

Associazione Culturale Promo Loco
Via Cruyllas Calatabiano.

Traduzione |  translates
Virginia Vaccaro
Traduzione |  translates
Mario Fillioley

Ccopyrigth 2010 Promo Loco Associazione Culturale P.IVA 04735520878