Panorama nordFrom the top of the hill where it is located, the castle overlooks the Carini’s fertile flat area from which the flavour of citrus spreads all over. The gate built according to the Moorish style through which we enter in the old district Terravecchia, allows us to enter the gorgeous castle. The castle was built by Rodolfo Bonello roughly at the end of the XI century, traces of a previous building, made according to the Arab -Norman style, have been discovered during the last restoration works, behind some walls and thick pieces of stucco some openings with pointed arches and large parts of ancient walls have been discovered; nevertheless the Arab Geographer Idrisi in his “Book of Ruggero” reports about it as being recently built.
Since the middle XIII century the castle belongs to the Abbate , Ingressothat started to enlarge its structure; so we have some two-light and three-light windows typical of that period which where lost. During the fight to conquer the crown of Sicily the Abbate where allied with the Chiaramonte family; they followed their same destiny and they had all their goods confiscated by Martino I the Young one and declared guilty of felony. On August 26th 1397 Ubertino La Grua “miles panormitano” is ordinated Lord of Carini, of Montelepre and Palagonia. His origins where from Pisa, Councellor of king Martino, Ubertino La Grua represents the progenitor of that dynasty of barons and princes that, as a matter of fact, will influence the economical and political development of Carini till when they left towards France at the end of 1800. Ubertino had just one daughter, Ilaria, in 1403 she married Gilberto Talamanca, of Catalan origin as the same king was, and they gave birth to a new lineage La Grua Talamanca, whose coat of arms are represented by a crane on a red and gold background for the La Grua side and a silver lozenge on a blue background for the Talamanca side. The castle will be just a military headquarter till the middle 1400 when, Giovan Vincenzo La Grua Talamanca becomes Lord and marrying Ilaria Ajutamicristo transforms the castle in their residence. This is the reason why we have the elements built according to the gothic-catalan style, very similar to those of the chapel La Grua Talamanca in Scalone2Santa Maria di Gesù in Palermo, the large stair case through which is the entrance in the ball hall and the wooden caisson ceiling. Dating back to the same period are the two marble trabeations where we have the writings: RECEDANT VETERA (past must be annulled) and ET NOVA SINT OMNIA (everything must be new), both of them expressing the desire of renewal that so strongly had influenced the castle. The direction of this cultural renewal was given to the great Sicilian architect Matteo Carnilivari, builder of the most important monuments dating back to the end of 1400 (Abatellis palace, Saint Mary of the Chains, Ajutamicristo palace…) as we can see in some notarial deeds of that period.
On September 21st 1543 Vincenzo La Grua Talamanca Tocco Manriquez marries Laura Lanza di Trabia, from whom he gets as a considerable dowry the sum of 22.000 florins , that give him the possibility of starting the castle’s enlargement and restoration works. Feeling the renaissance influence the big windows of the ball hall and the main entrances are renewed, and Villa Belvedere is also enlarged and renewed. On December 4th 1563 the “Amaru casu della baronessa di Carini” takes place , Donna Laura Lanza is killed by her father don Cesare Lanza for honour reasons. The story, after that official historical sources were cancelled, it was handed down thanks to story tellers that with their “cunti” and nowadays they still feed the legendary story of the Barunissa Stanza affrescata sec XVII 22di Carini and of her beloved Ludovico Vernagallo. From that moment onwards the castle was slowly abandoned, till when the La Grua Talamanca moved into their new palace in Palermo in front of the Cathedral. In the late 1700 The Palermo’s aristocracy use to spend their summer in the countryside so that the La Grua remember their old castle, starting a new season of restoration works. Many rooms are restored according to the style of the period, the north wing is totally decorated with neoclassical and Pompeian frescoes and the house is enriched with decorations and fire places. Since those days everything was abandoned. After the departure of the last La Grua Talamanca towards France (end 1800) the castle is given to caretakers and used for the needs of the people: it was military base during the revolutions in 1848, school and also a place from where to steal the precious objects that originally were in it. In 1976 the west wing where the baroness was killed collapses, there had to be the hand print of the baroness that had been stabbed by her father. Stanza di Ulisse e PenelopeThe year after, the last heir today alive, Rodolfo II La Grua Talamanca gives the castle to the town, and a few years later, restoration works start, and they are slowly giving this outstanding jewel back to its ancient splendour.