The castle of Acquafredda rises on a volcanic hill, 256 meters above sea level, just 4 kilometers away from the small town of Siliqua, in the Province of Cagliari.
Unlike other medieval castles scattered around the island, which are no longer safely accessible, it preserves many open and safe parts and offers a welcome area, where you can rest or have a picnic.
Since 1993, for the richness and value of its historical, artistic and naturalistic heritage, it has been awarded Natural Monument.
We just have to go and discover its history and visit it – for today – from a distance!
Ugolino, the first tenant of the Castle of Acquafredda
Remember Ugolino della Gherardesca, the famous nobleman Dante talks about in the Divine Comedy?
A historical character, connected to a macabre story that is commonly paired with cannibalism: Count Ugolino, locked up together with his sons Gaddo and Uguccione in the Torre della Muda in Pisa, in the XXIII chapter of Inferno, tells Dante how much he suffered for having seen his children starve to death and ends his story with a phrase that still remains a mystery today: “Poscia, più che ‘l dolor, potè il digiuno”. (Finally, more than the pain, it could fasting”)
Ugolino himself, Count of the Donoratico family, was the first owner of the Castle of Acquafredda: in 1257, after the fall of the Giudicato di Karales, he became the owner of a large territory that stretched from Cagliari to the Iglesiente, an area rich in precious minerals, such as silver and lead.
The structure: donjon, cistern tower, and village
The castle of Acquafredda stands on three levels, which harmoniously follow the geology of the hill.
Let’s start from the bottom: we are 154 meters above sea level. The first defense line is the village itself, with the soldiers’ lodgings, warehouses for food supplies, weapons, and tools.
It’s a walled enclosure with three towers, one of which probably on three levels, still in good condition. In some points, you can see the typical Guelph embattled edging, a clear sign of the Donoratico family’s Tuscan origin.
Going to the upper level, about 200 meters above sea level, you can see the cistern tower. It has a square shape and very large size, considering the importance that the conservation of water must have had in such a large community, composed of many lords and soldiers.
Third and last level: here we are at the keep, which enclosed the rooms where the master stayed, together with his court.
Now we are 256 meters above sea level, in the heart of the castle, reachable only through a complicated system of stairs and entrances. The donjon, on two floors, had its own terrace and cistern. Today only the north-west and south-east facades remain, garnished with coats of arms and battlements and the watchtower known as “de s’impicadroxiu” (of the hanging).
The view is spectacular and on clear days it extends over the entire Cixerri Valley, the Marmilla, the sea, and even the Gennargentu.
The Andesitic Domo of Acquafredda
If the history of the medieval Castle of Acquafredda is fascinating and mysterious, the natural scenery that surrounds is breathtaking: the Domo derives from the presence of a volcano in ancient times (about 27 million years ago). The lava erupted from the mouth of the volcano cooled and consolidated in a short time, creating a mountainous depression.
Thet’s why, the natural environment is so peculiar: kestrels, weasels, imperial crows, partridges, hawks, and even some golden eagles find an ideal habitat among junipers and other shrubs of Mediterranean maquis.
Something extraordinary to see at least once in a lifetime, waiting for the sunset for a memorable shot!
Have you ever been there? Ask for more info and prices to get there and enjoy a stunning Sardinian experience!