Originally built in 1072 at the behest of Count Roger I of Sicily, the castle was intended to defend the Simeto valley from Islamic incursions at the time. The only section of the structure that has survived intact to the present day is the majestic tower that has become a symbol of the city.
Soon, the purely military use gave way to civil occupation and the complex was enlarged to cope with the arrival of numerous mercenaries following the Norman conquerors as well as various settlers from northern Italy attracted by the privileges granted to them, becoming the lordly seat of the county of Paternò.
It hosted several rulers of the time, including Frederick II of Swabia, Eleanor of Anjou and the White Queen of Navarre. Its management changed several times throughout history, the last regents from 1456 to the end of feudalism being the Moncadas, a noble family of Catalan origin prominent in Sicilian history, who also used it as a prison.
The building’s rectangular plan measures approximately 24 x 18 metres and reaches a height of 34 metres. In addition to the ground floor, it extends for two more levels up to a terrace from which there is a splendid view of the Simeto valley and the omnipresent Etna.
The material typically used for the construction is dark lava stone, characteristic of the Etnean territory, alternating with white limestone to create a pleasant two-tone effect that can be appreciated especially in the numerous rectangular, single-light and double-light openings.