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Ursino Castle
Vacation Travel Guide

View an array of stunning religious artworks and a collection of rare historic books at this imposing medieval castle.

Walk around 13th-century Ursino Castle to discover fine paintings, an extensive archaeological collection and several fine Baroque murals. Learn about the castle’s history as a fort, royal home and prison, and the structure’s changes following Mount Etna’s eruption.

Originally built on the coastline overlooking Catania, Ursino Castle dates back to 1239, when the city was Sicily’s capital. The imposing structure, with its square shape and high round turrets on each corner, was one of the few buildings to survive the eruption of Mount Etna, though its strategic position was somewhat changed following the event. Lava flow from the south left the castle 1,660 feet (500 meters) from the coast.

Stand in the Piazza Federico II di Svevia and gaze up at the castle’s four round towers. Walk around the exterior and notice four smaller, rounded turrets. Look for the area where the moat once was, now largely filled in by lava from Etna’s eruption.

Go through the grand main entrance and head to the Library of Ancient Books with an extensive collection of first-edition copies of Christian literature from across Europe. Look toward the ceiling to see a number of intricately painted religious murals.

Continue on to the Pinacoteca gallery to appreciate artwork dating to the 14th century. Look for Antonello di Saliba painting of The Virgin on a throne and a portrait of S. Crisanto by Pietro Novell from 1637. Farther inside the castle, find the archeological collection of the Prince of Biscari. Highlights here are the ancient vases and mosaics vividly depicting famous scenes from Greek mythology. Stroll around the gallery to see one of Italy’s largest collections of rare coins and a display of painted Sicilian carts created by local artists.

Wander through the castle grounds and imagine how life would have been for the Sicilian soldiers, noblemen and prisoners who inhabited the castle over the centuries. Climb to a turret and enjoy great views back toward the city.

Ursino Castle is located in central Catania. It is open daily and admission is free.

Top things to do in Ursino Castle

Top Hotels Close to Ursino Castle

Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
4 out of 5
Via Etnea 218, Catania, CT
The price is $108 per night from Mar 12 to Mar 13

Located in Catania City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Catania Cathedral, Elephant Fountain, and Massimo Bellini Theater. Greek-Roman Theatre ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (985 reviews)

"The location and customer service was great. Gabriele on the reception desk and the nightman were very helpful with directions, providing helpful tips for day trips and quickly dealt with any queries. The breakfast options were a little limited, however the breakfast staff were very attentive."…"

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2020

Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
Quattro Canti Suites
Quattro Canti Suites
Via Antonino Di Sangiuliano, 293, Catania, Sicilia
The price is $98 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3

Located in Catania City Centre, this guesthouse is steps from Basilica Collegiata and Via Etnea. Catania Cathedral and Catania Port are also within 15 minutes. ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (29 reviews)
Highly recommended

"Lovely hotel with great location near many restaurants and the fish market. The coffee and croissants in the morning delivered to your room was added bonus."…"

Reviewed on Oct 17, 2020

Quattro Canti Suites
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
4 out of 5
Viale Kennedy Loc La Playa, Catania, CT
The price is $108 per night from Mar 19 to Mar 20

Located in Contrada Pantano d'Arci, this beachfront hotel is on the boardwalk, just steps from Spiaggia della Plaia and Catania Beach. Catania Harbour and Catania ...

4.1/5Very Good! (564 reviews)
Comfortable Hotel just across Catania's Beach

"The hotel is comfortable and conveniently located on Catania's beach not too far from the centre of Catania. Staff was very welcoming and helpful."…"

Reviewed on Sep 8, 2020

NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Ursino Castle

Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
4 out of 5
Via Etnea 218, Catania, CT
The price is $108 per night from Mar 12 to Mar 13
Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze
Quattro Canti Suites
Quattro Canti Suites
Via Antonino Di Sangiuliano, 293, Catania, Sicilia
The price is $98 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3
Quattro Canti Suites
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
4 out of 5
Viale Kennedy Loc La Playa, Catania, CT
The price is $108 per night from Mar 19 to Mar 20
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi
AG Home Adragna
AG Home Adragna
Via Spadaccini 16, Catania, Provincia di Catania
The price is $34 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3
AG Home Adragna
MiniSuite with Jacuzzi
MiniSuite with Jacuzzi
Catania, Sicily
The price is $158 per night from Feb 27 to Feb 28
MiniSuite with Jacuzzi
Globetrotter Catania
Globetrotter Catania
3 out of 5
Vicolo Della Lanterna 14, Catania, CT
The price is $23 per night from Feb 26 to Feb 27
Globetrotter Catania
Il Leone Blu - Bed & Breakfast
Il Leone Blu - Bed & Breakfast
3 out of 5
Via Castello Ursino, 38, Catania, Catania
The price is $84 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3
Il Leone Blu - Bed & Breakfast
City-in-hostel-B&B
City-in-hostel-B&B
1 out of 5
via Grimaldi, 2, Catania, CT
The price is $25 per night from Mar 2 to Mar 3
City-in-hostel-B&B
Mercure Catania Excelsior
Mercure Catania Excelsior
4 out of 5
Piazza Giovanni Verga 39, Catania, CT
The price is $77 per night from Mar 20 to Mar 21
Mercure Catania Excelsior
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.