The Castle of Roccavaldina
The Castle of Roccavaldina is located in province of Messina, in the hills to 380 mt slm between the cities of Messina and Milazzo in a delightful village overlooking the Gulf of Milazzo, the Aeolian Islands and the Peloritans. The Castle is located in the center of the village of which it once represented the symbol of the feudal power of the Valdina and that takes its name from: Roccavaldina.
The castle almost does not stand out from below, surrounded as it is from the ancient town, in fact, contrary to the most common arrangement, it does not occupy the extreme part of the town which remains dominated by the great 16th century bell tower of the cathedral. The castle suddenly appears limiting all the western front of the main square, it represents the most important and significant historical and architectural testimony of Roccavaldina. It is a majestic building originally built as a defensive structure and subsequently expanded and used as a princely residence of the noble family of the Val di Chiana.
Location weddings and private events in Sicily
Whether it's a wedding, a corporate meeting, a launch of a new product, a photographic and film shooting or an exhibition or a congress, the castle is a versatile venue able to enhance your event with a always unique and exciting experience.
All environments can be set up and used according to your needs. The Castle of Roccavaldina combines romance, beauty, uniqueness, architecture and history. In the large halls of the Castle you can welcome your guests during the reception; a beautiful panoramic terrace, overlooking the Aeolian Islands for an aperitif, a prestigious Michelangelo's courtyard for an outdoor wedding. On request it will be possible celebrate civil marriages. The Castle of Roccavaldina is one exclusive location where to organize weddings, corporate events or cultural events in Sicily.
From the architectural point of view it has two distinct sections: the oldest, of origin Norman-Swabian, preserves the typical medieval conformation with two fortified towers and with Guelph merlings, the other, of late sixteenth century origin, with the imposing baronial palace whose project is attributed to the Florentine architect Camillo Camilliani, a student of michelangelo, one of the main exponents of the Sicilian artistic production during the period of the Spanish domination of the island.
From the testimony of some architectural elements, many scholars also imply the architect's intervention Iacopo Del Duca, also a disciple of Michelangelo.
The geographic position of the castle, perched on the scrambling of a hill, makes it a splendid observation point of the territory of the Milazzo plain: the feud of the Valdina. The castle is the result of the complex fusion of architectural elements of different styles, mixed together but at the same time easily identifiable, such as to make it a unique work of its kind, as the only Florentine style castle in Sicily. From the oldest structure the building takes the name of a castle, although perhaps this term does not do justice to the original complexity of the building.
There are three main parts from which it consists:
the Fort it is what remains of a robust construction of Norman-Swabian origin. The original structure perhaps included four towers placed at the corners connected to each other by massive walls without openings on the ground floor, with small and narrow windows on the upper floor and a crown of Guelph merlons to complete this classic medieval structure, mainly used for defensive purposes or more simply to head the militia in arms. Today there are only two towers of the original structure and, a real highlight, the grandiose gothic gothic portal that opens at the center of the façade with two sturdy wooden doors trimmed with pointed iron studs.
Il Loggiato: passing the imposing military entrance, in spite of the façade built to instil submission and order, an unexpectedly intimate and elegant space opens up, overlooked by the precious sixteenth-century Renaissance arcade of the Camilliani and a monumental marble entrance staircase Billiemi. Therefore, the loggia is the architectural element that connects two different worlds to each other, as if to say "from here on, you are in my house".
Il Palazzo: the most properly defined part as a "palace" is characterized by a style of transition between the Renaissance and the Baroque. There are therefore typically baroque decorative elements grafted onto a stylistically older structure such as the shells and pine cones in the eardrums or the angular balcony shelves that radiate the building. A jewel of colonnade with cross vaults and columns of marble from Billiemi opens to a magnificent hall with its two annexed rooms. Finally, then, to a vast one panoramic terrace on the Gulf of Milazzo and the Aeolian Islands on one side i Peloritans on the other.
Today the Castle of Roccavaldina is the private residence of the last descendants of this ancient noble family i Nastasi De Spucches that they are doing for make known and appreciate this historical-architectural masterpiece to the community.
The history of the Castle of Roccavaldina
The first news written about the owner of the castle dates back to 1296, a Giovanni Rocca, noble Pisan knight. However, in Roman times, where the castle will later rise, a mandatory stop for the change of horses was established: a "Roman post". In 600-700 dc the fortifications were intensified to defend the Arab incursions in Sicily and in this period the ancient station for the change of horses was fortified for the defense of the territory, at the time called Pyxus, so the first nucleus of the castle.
In the year 840 the Saracens invaded Sicily and laid siege to Pyxus, who was forced to surrender. The inhabited center was rebuilt under the name of Raakal-Elmerun becoming the base camp of the Saracens who besieged the nearby Rometta castle for three years.
Around the year 1000 Ruggero the Norman passed the strait with 500 cavalieri and progressively regained Sicily. Under the Norman rule of the territory the control of the fiefdom passed to the Monastery of S. Maria la Scala.
After the Sicilian Vespers of the 1282 the Aragonese took over Sicily, who, to ingratiate themselves with the people, handed over noble titles, assigning fiefs and estates to the families who had helped them. The castle belonged to the feudal families Gioieni, Chestnut, La Grua, Rocca, Mauro.
In the 1409 the castle came to Nicolò Castagna, a powerful and unassailable man who became viceroy in the 1421. Under the Aragonese reign of Alfonso V the castle from a simple fortress became a noble palace.
At the end of the '400 to Aragonese family of the Valdina Varths the fief was assigned together with the appointment of Andrea Valdina to "Mastro Notaro of the Royal Court of Sicily", a title of enormous economic and military importance. The family was very attached to the crown, in fact the women were the ladies of the queen and the males were a sort of private guard of the king.
The Valdina led numerous works of improvement of the castle. In the 1599 Pietro Valdina, together with his wife Laura Ventimiglia, commissioned, according to historians, the architect Camillo Camilliani, a disciple of Michelangelo, the tomb of his son Maurizio, who died young. The Camilliani also designed the growth of the castle on the west side, turning it into a wealthy late sixteenth century residence. Pietro Valdina brought the family to the height of power and under Philip IV in 1623 he obtained the nomination to marquis with the right to add his name to that of the fiefdom that was called Roccavaldina.
The powerful and rich Valdina family transformed the palace into one rich art gallery, he also hosted Caravaggio in his flight to Sicily, probably these he left his work at the castle, as reported in the testamentary documents. Even the painter from Messina Rodriguez lived for many months at the castle. In '700 Giovanni Valdina Vignolo became very rich as a result of his ability to trade in silk, astute banker, owner of residences in Palermo, Naples and Rome. The same building of Montecitorio was part of the Valdina complex. In the second half of the '800, supported by Baron Atanasio Valdina, teams of volunteers were formed, whose signatures were collected in the baronial hall on a desk covered by the tricolor, which then accompanied the march of Garibaldi.
The castle property passed to Giovanna Atanasio went to marry a Francesco Paolo De Spucches. Later Giovanbattista Nastasi De Spucches he became the owner of the entire barony of Roccavaldina and of the Palazzo, thus the castle and the lands became property of the Nastasi De Spucches family.
In the 1960 the castle owned by the dr. Vittorio Nastasi De Spucches was recovered in its dangerous parts, making the living area of the first floor functional, the seventeenth-century loggia and the entrance portal were restored. In November 1966 the castle was officially classified by the Ministry as a historical monument of particularly important interest.
The last major restoration dates back to the 2000, curated by Vittorio's daughter, Francesca Nastasi De Spucches who saved the north, east and west sides from ruin so that the castle could be handed down to history in its entirety.