Description

The castle was accessed from a majestic portal with a lava stone arch, whose vaulting stone depicts a Saracen with an angry face, surmounted by a shell typical of the best Catanese Baroque. The arch rests on two false corbels which seem to support the two lava sides of the portal. The entire portal alternates flattened rectangles (with a closed line hollowed out along the entire perimeter) with as many having an upward pyramid, atypical at the top.

Today this portal can be seen passing through the road that connects the center of Fiumefreddo di Sicilia to the hamlet of Marina di Cottone.

Today's entrance is through a modern door, which allows you to enter the large property, where there are also numerous hectares planted with citrus fruits.

A wrought iron gate leads into the courtyard, with a rectangular plan, which has a well in the center and at the northern and southern edges of the service buildings, the warehouses and the old stables.

There is also a small church, formerly dedicated to the cult of San Giovanni, which was built in 1544 by Ferdinando Gravina-Crujllas, as can be read on the plaque at the entrance. Later, around 1840, the church was dedicated to the cult of the Madonna della Lettera. Inside there are two small side altars and then the larger one dominated by the icon of the Madonna. The current state of the church dates from 1757.

To the west, looking at the main architecture, one is immediately struck by the loggia (3 meters high with dimensions of 4.5 by 3 meters) on the top of the castle, from whose openings the characteristic statues of the two Moors overlook. From this loggia the landlord could supervise the work in the fields.

The castle has two floors, structured according to a functional logic of the time: the ground floor as a deposit for what was produced in the adjacent fund; the upper floor as accommodation for the owners.

The main fa├žade of the baronial villa has a central balcony, on the first floor, which overlooks the courtyard, while on the ground floor, just below the balcony, there is a large door which allows you to reach the underground floor via a staircase. This space, characterized by ancient barrel vaults, was a warehouse, a cool place where food and wine were kept in good condition. There seems to be no trace of a millstone, however the space must have been equipped with large barrels.

At the center of this evocative environment there is a trapdoor, from which an underground passage begins which, according to some scholars, probably led to the Red Tower. Precisely because of the suggestion that emanates from this underground space, in 1998 Franco Battiato chose it as the place to shoot the music video for Schock in My Town, a song included in the album Gommalacca.

The reason why this villa bears the name of castle becomes evident by observing the turrets that protrude from every corner of the upper floor. Each of them is faceted in four and has a loophole. On some of these turrets, eyes and ears have been sculpted upwards, in a bizarre way, with the evident purpose of reminding the peasants that the eyes and ears of the master watch over them even when they believe they are not being controlled. This type of Baroque ornament is exclusive to this architecture.

The southern elevation is characterized by the external staircase that leads to the upper floor, where the stately rooms are located. The main floor is made up of eight rooms, some of which are filled with valuable objects that make up a real small museum that recounts the deeds of the Platania family and its history. Even today the owners, barons of Santa Lucia, live in the house which is visited every year by thousands of people.