Castle of Paternò

The Castle of Paternò rises on a high basalt cliff overlooking the village.

Given the panoramic position, it is possible to admire the different landscapes that characterize the surrounding territory, from the plain of Catania to the volcano Etna.

It is the largest of the three castles in the Simeto valley which, according to tradition, were built by the Great Count Roger I d’Altavilla to defend the valley.

This tradition would also be confirmed by the similar appearance of the three donjons: massive and erected on basaltic cliffs isolated from the villages.

The construction technique is also the same: lava stones irregularly embedded by cantonal cut stones.

In spite of these construction similarities, the Paternò tower has a particular two-colour effect, due to the inserts of limestone in the lava stone, which is not present in the donjons of Adrano and Motta Sant’Anastasia.

There are three levels of the castle, including the ground floor.

On the lower level, divided by two walls that intersect in the shape of a Latin cross, there are five rooms, including a large hall, the vestibule, the gendarmerie and the chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

The latter room is decorated with various wall paintings and decorations that are partially visible but that suggest a decorative link with the Palatine Chapel of Palermo.

On the first floor there is the reception hall, the castellan’s lodgings and the kitchens. From this floor it was possible to access the first watchtower.

The second tower was accessed from the top floor, where we also find the bedrooms of the sovereigns who stayed here, such as Frederick II and Eleanor of Anjou, and the gallery.

This one, called La Loggia, was characterized by an ogival vault, and was illuminated by two large two-coloured mullioned windows.

On the higher floors, thanks to its favourable position, the castle was used as an astronomical observatory.