Pietratagliata Castle in Sicily, between reality and legend

September 19, 2014

In the most "wild" area of Sicily stands the Pietratagliata Castle (or Gresti Castle), at the center of that strip of land merging the towns of Aidone, Valguarnera and Raddusa, in the province of Enna. It is named after the district of the same name and it was built between the thirteenth and the fourteenth century in a strategic position on top of a high rock. The castle dominates the surrounding valley, with its 36 meters high square tower, even though the entire building is now reduced to little more than a ruin.

The Castle of Pietratagliata has been in a state of neglect for decades and it can only be visited on the outside, because of safety reasons. Nonetheless, it is worth a visit, not only to see up close the massive tower, once adorned with a beautiful spiral staircase that led right to the top, but also to look at what remains of the imposing building and the perimeter walls. In any case, it is likely that the castle has never had the function of mansion, but it was certainly a lookout fortress.

In fact, there could be another very good reason to visit the Pietratagliata Castle, which is the possibility to find a great treasure. Tradition has it that its past owner, Baron James Goats, decided to put a mysterious Latin inscription on a window’s lintel: according to local legends, if a knight riding a galloping horse had been able to read and interpret this inscription, he would have discovered a wonderful treasure. Unfortunately, the inscription is now lost and the treasure has never been found, but the legend still remains.

To reach the Pietratagliata Castle you shall take the A19 Catania-Palermo highway, exit at Motta Sant’Anastasia and then take the SS 288 for Raddusa, towards Catania. After about 15 kilometers, you shall continue on the SP for Valguarnera for less than 10 kilometers, some of which are on gravel road. Given the state of abandonment of the castle, there are obviously no entrance times nor guided tours. For information, you can contact the Pro Loco of Aidone at +39 0935 86557 or +39 333 1791293.

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