The castle of Butera
Within the town of Butera, the city center, was founded in the Arab era, probably around the present castle, which, according to historical sources, was of Byzantine origin. The fortress was conquered by the Normans in 1089 during the campaign for the conquest of Sicily against the Saracens. Under the rule of the Altavilla, Butera underwent an attack by King Guglielmo I, known as Malo, which caused considerable damage to the system of fortifications of the city. Only later, thanks to the intervention of the monarch Guglielmo II, the castle was strengthened and restored up to welcome in 1233 Federico II of Swabia, which, at that time, extended its domination on the island with the construction of Heraclea-Terranova. During 1392, together with the county of Butera, the castle was granted by King Martino I the noble Ugone Santapau while, centuries later, in 1540, his property passed to the noble family of the Branciforte. Vito Amico, historian and scholar of the XVIIIth century, described the castle as «a fortress manufactured in a hill in the southern part of the country, with a door facing north [...]; they are very strong and solid stone walls of the square of 18 palms wide, and arise to such a height that support five orders of vaults, and also on the sides with square stones. There is a courtyard and a very wide space, preserved barley and wheat, weapons, stables for horses, it was deep and spacious. A cistern distinguished above all others, countenance unveiled a few years ago, surpasses all expectation [...]. The outer edges of the fortress are inaccessible on all sides, and the angles only presentansi to besiege, and joined» (Vito Amico, Topographical Dictionary of Sicily).