Sant'Alessio Castle, locally known as Castello di Sant'Alessio, lies next to the town of Sant'Alessio Siculo, in the Messina province on the island of Sicily in Italy.
When the first fortification at this site was built is unknown. The cape on which the castle is built however is a very strategic point, controlling the road connecting Taormina with Messina below it and overlooking the Ionian Sea. It is most likely that there was a fortification here during the Arab rule of Sicily.
Sant'Alessio Castle was first mentioned in 1117, when it was part of a large donation of land to a monastery, by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily. During Norman rule of Sicily, when building of the present castle started, Sant'Alessio Castle formed a defensive system together with Forza d'Agrò Castle higher up on the mountain.
Sant'Alessio Castle consists of two fortifications on two separate rocks connected by a narrow ridge.
In the beginning of the 15th century an Artale Angelica was made Baron and Lord of Sant'Alessio by King Martin I of Sicily. In 1453 the castle was given to a Tommaso Romano by King Alfonso V of Aragon. It stayed in the Romano family until the mid-16th century, when it went to Antonello, Baron of Furnari, through marriage. In 1608 Sant'Alessio Castle went to a Francesco Romeo Romano.
In 1674 the nearby city of Messina rebelled against the Spanish rule of Sicily. Sant'Alessio Castle was then occupied by Spanish troops who enforced a blockade of food destined for Messina.
In the beginning of the 18th century Sant'Alessio Castle was armed with 3 iron cannons and garrisoned by 15 soldiers and a steward and was one of the most important fortifications in the defense of Messina.
Due to its strategic position the castle was completely restored by the British during the Napoleonic Wars in the beginning of the 19th century. After the unification of Italy the castle became State property and was sold to a Marquess Pietro Mauro.
Even during WW II the castle served a military role when it was occupied by German troops who installed anti-aircraft guns.
At present Sant'Alessio Castle is private property and can thus not be visited. Too bad. A nice castle on a dramatic location.