Pietrarossa Castle

Province of Caltanissetta

The remains of the Pietrarossa Castle is a testimony of the long and turbolent history of Sicily. It is one of the most important castles in Sicily from a historic point of view from the days of the Normans to the long Spanish domain.

The period when it was built is still unclear but there has been found text testifying that the castle already existed in 1086, when the King Ruggero conquered Caltanissetta. The castle therefore might have been built from the Arabs as a fortified area… But again, no one knows for certain when it was built. There are currently 5 theories on the Castle of Pietrarossa actual origins still standing.

Castello pietra rossa body 1

The castle is located on the eastern side of the historic center of Caltanissetta where the first nucleus of the current city was born. The castle was built on a limestone greenhouse overlooking the Valley of Salso and was surrounded by extensive agricultural land. In fact, the city of Caltanissetta probably got its name from this castle. Precisely, it derives from Qal’at an- nisah, meaning the castle of the women, alluding to the fact that the men were always in the fields working while the women remained protected inside the castle. A legend says that here is where the cannoli were first invented. The women used to prepare the crunchy outer part during the day and as soon as the first men would return to the castle they would stuff the cannoli with the ricotta cream to make them look like they were freshly made!

Castello pietra rossa body 2

Within the walls of this castle many historic events occurred throughout the centuries bringing modifications of all sorts… but in 1567, probably due to an earthquake or a landslide, the castle collapsed. Only a few parts of it held up this shock. Currently what remains of the Castle of Pietrarossa are two of the three towers used for sightseeing and part of that walls.

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