History of a stone mirror
For tourists who make Castellammare del Golfo only a destination, the Arab Norman castle it can give the impression of being the symbol of a city located on the borders of Trapani. Anyone who thinks so does no wrong to anyone, mind you, simply the look of these travelers may turn out to be more superficial than expected.
The castle is indeed a symbol, but not only of Castellammare del golfo, but of the whole island: it is in fact a witness and testimony of all the populations that have crossed Sicily over the last ten centuries. mirror of the continuous historical and cultural change of the largest island of the Mediterranean Sea.
We know for sure that they were the first Arab populations - around the ninth century - to resume a previous fortification and to build a real fort, a castle close to the sea, connected with the city thanks to a drawbridge. Later they were the Normans to further expand and fortify the structure; this is the period in which "No castle is stronger than site nor better for construction than this one here [...]", to use the words of the Arab geographer Idrisi. We can therefore understand how lucky they were Swabians to find this building once arrived in Sicily, which, to further improve its defensive capacity, encircled it with walls and erected towers. In the 1314 the owner becomes Roberto d'Angiò, then, two years later, to leave the property to the Aragonese crown. And it was precisely the Aragonese who destroyed part of the fortifications and one of the towers of the castle. After its reconstruction the structure became the home of noble families, linked to the emperor. At the end of the 16th century the castle had three towers ("San Giorgio", "della Campana" and "il Baluardo") and two walls, and finally the ancient drawbridge was replaced by a masonry bridge that still exists today.
But the Sicilian society changes and, with it, also the role and the morphology of the castle: once the times of sovereigns and dictators are over, the times of democracy and the republic arrive; no longer the protagonist of wars, but guardian of cultural identity.
Today it is possible to visit the inside Museum "The memory of the Mediterranean", whose purpose is to remember, preserve and enhance the historical, artistic and ethno-anthropological heritage of the city and its territory.
The Museum of Water and Mills, the Museum of Productive Activities ("Annalisa Buccellato" Foundation), the Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Activities Museum are the four sections with which the entire pole is divided.
No longer the lives of the people, but theirs identity today it is to be preserved.
The tanner, the shoemaker, the carter, are just some of the crafts that are almost or completely disappeared today; contact with raw materials such as bread, vines and grapes, cheese, all that we are used to finding on the shelves of modern supermarkets today.
The ancient walls that for centuries protected sovereigns and noble families, today are in defense of a lost everyday life but never forgotten.