Maniace Castle is one of the most important monuments of the Suevian period of Syracuse, Sicily. In the site where the castle had almost certainly exist of fortifications since the time of the Greeks in what is strategically important for the defense of the Grand Harbor. In 1038 the Byzantine Commander Giorgio Maniace, from which the castle takes its name, promoted the construction of works in defense of the port of Ortigia in the course of its military campaign. A few years later the Arabs they possessed again in Syracuse and the manor house that held until 1087 when they were defeated and driven by the Normans.
The original castle is due to the emperor Frederick II of Swabia, which entrusted the realization to the architect Riccardo da Lentini between 1232 and 1239. In 1321 it hosted the sitting of the Sicilian Parliament convened to enshrine the inheritance of the Son of Alfonso III of Aragon, Frederick III of Aragon. In the years after 1535 the viceroy Ferdinando Gonzaga, to remedy the scourge of the frequent pirate raids of the Saracens in the coastal towns of eastern Sicily did prepare a plan for strengthening of coastal defenses. In 1540 we took accommodation admiral Andrea Doria during the expedition organized by Carlo V against the Muslims. At the end of the XVI century, the Castle Maniace had become the nodal point of the boundary walls of Ortigia but, on 5 November 1704, the building was deeply shaken by a violent explosion of the powder keg that projected the pieces of eight of the vaults and stone blocks in a radius of a few kilometers. In the Bourbon period the castle regained her its military functions and was equipped with guns. In 1838 following the movements that were unleashing throughout the Bourbon kingdom was fitted with a construction of defense. Even after the unification of Italy remained a military structure and it remained until the second world war.
To the four corners of the building are four cylindrical towers incorporated harmoniously into the masonry. Maniace Castle is accessible through the door carraia of former barracks Abela Sita, Siracusa, in piazza Federico di Svevia. Crossing the next courtyard is a masonry bridge that leads to a door, with lateral columns, Spanish Era (XVI century). This bridge has replaced the old drawbridge wood which crossed the moat which surrounded the castle at the time of construction and separated him from the extreme southern tip of Ortigia; the wide moat, filled in the Sixteenth Century, put in communication the Grand Harbor with the open sea and ponte raised allowed a better defense of the castle in the event of attack. Contrasts with the general appearance of the opera, mainly military, the marble portal decorated, whose depth of the splay was exploited by manufacturers for the establishment of artistic virtuosity.