The Sanctuary of Capo d’Orlando, the castle rises on a promontory overlooking the sea on the Tyrrhenian coast: it was visually connected with the other near castles, located on the coast or on the hills, as well as with the circuit of watchtowers (including the Lauro’s tower); the visibility reaches the Aeolian islands and with certain weather conditions can reaches Cefalù.
The castle rises on a promontory overlooking the sea on the Tyrrhenian coast, it was visually connected with the neighboring castles of Caronia, Acquedolci, Sant”Agata, San Marco d’Alunzio and Pietra di Roma, Militello, Naso, Ficarra, Brolo, Piraino, Gioiosa Guardia, located on the coast or on the hills, as well as with the circuit of watchtowers (including the Lauro’s one) and with the Aeolian Islands; visibility, in the absence of haze, reaches up Cefalù.
Its foundation would be the will of Charlemagne, in honor of the paladin Orlando. We find it mentioned as castrum in 1296; in the 1299, the year of the battle that append in the waters of the sea in front of the castle, the Aragona brothers fighted for the contest for the throne of Sicily, which involved 96 galleys and caused many miles of deaths.
In 1500 the tower served as a sighting and warning against privateers. At the castle there were four mighty cannons, two recovered from a wrecked Turkish ship. In 1598 the statuette of the Madonna was left by S. Cono to the guardians. In 1613 it suffered serious damage following a violent earthquake. We know from a print by Willem Schellinks of 1664 that there were various buildings on the top of the mountain.
Vito Amico reports that in 1750 it was a castle, church, tavern and landing place. Giovanni Antonio Sandoval was invested in the county, land and castle, in 1790, who was succeeded in 1811 by Bernardo Joppolo Ventimiglia Fardella. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, earthquakes and landslides affected the mountain; period in which it was ceded to the diocese of Patti by the Capuchin friars.
Of the original fortifications, today only a rectangular tower survives, which was originally articulated on two levels: The surviving masonry, of different thickness, is made of stones, bricks, mortar and stone blocks of various pieces with a perfectly visible face. square in the cantonal still recognizable.
Until recently, chains hung from the arch of the door of the Sanctuary in memory of the prodigious liberation from the Turks of the Count of Galati, Placido Cottone, which took place in 1628 in the Greek archipelago.
The ancient church was illuminated by precious iridescent chandeliers of gems, which for about 3 centuries shone in the Sanctuary and which were donated to the homeland in 1936, they remind us of the gratitude of the viceroy of Sicily Pietro Giron, who miraculously escaped certain death to be fallen into the cistern of the atrium of the Sanctuary. In the sanctuary the ex-votos are in plain sight with the numerous boats saved from the furious waves of the stormy sea, recalling other prodigious miracles of the Madonna. There are also two paintings by Gaspare Camarda from the school of Antonello da Messina: the “Crucifix between two praying monks” of 1627 can be admired behind the main altar, while the “Adoration of the shepherds” of 1626, is located in one of the chapels side.
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