The headquarters

The seat of the Museum, the heart of Castelbuono: the Ventimiglia Municipal Castle.


Begun to build in 1317 by Count Francesco I Ventimiglia on the hill of San Pietro d'Ypsigro, whence the nickname "Castello del buon aere", from which it took the name Castelbuono, a previous byzantine "fortress" was incorporated in the castle. During the sec. XVII were made radical transformations for exigencies of ability, because some families of the Ventimiglias having been transferred from Palermo ;We have to consider also that on the other hand, The castle never had strategic target, due to its geographical location downstream. The original architecture is not easy to identify and presents Suebi - Arab-Norman compositional characteristics: the "cube" shape is recalling the Arab architecture, the "square towers" - - reflect the Norman architecture, the "cylindrical tower" expresses modules of Swabian architecture. The "swallowtail" Ghibelline battlement was demolished in 1820, as it was dangerously damaged due to the earthquake that struck the Madonie, and Castelbuono in a serious way. An "underground tunnel" communicated with the church of San Francesco, built in 1322, located in the upper part of the town. Secret staircases were discovered between the thickness of the large walls that intercommunicated with the various floors. Rooms on the ground floor and in the basement take us back to feudal domination: cramped cells for those convicted of serious crimes, common areas for inmates for minor crimes. The fifteenth-century wooden ceiling decorated with colorful chimeric figures, resting on artistically carved "shelves" resists in a good shape. In 1357, while Count Francesco II Ventimiglia was vicar of Sicily, the sovereign Frederick III of Aragon stayed in the castle.


The Palatine Chapel, executed in 1683, is decorated with stuccos by the brothers Giuseppe and Giacomo Serpotta. Inside the chapel, the relic of the skull of Saint Anne, patron saint of Castelbuono, is kept inside an urn. The urn acts as a pedestal to the silver sculptural bust of the Saint, a work from 1521.The artistic wooden "Coro" is the work of the sculptor Castelbuonese Domenico Coco, 1760.


The Castle of the Ventimiglias, since 1920 the Municipal Castle, having been the illustrious lineage's residence for six centuries, acquired by the citizens at the beginning of the 20th century, has survived the weight of years, the vicissitudes that have repeatedly threatened its stability , thanks to the continuous interventions, motivated primarily by the deep bond of the Castelbuonesi to the heart of the Castle, the Palatine Chapel which houses the noble relic of Sant'Anna.


The structural restoration designed and financed in the 1980s and carried out in the last five years of the century, restored much of the building to fruition and the museum installation, completed in 2011, made it possible to define a museum that today , is a driving force for knowledge and experimentation, a museum representing the city, the territory, and the history of the town.