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Siliqua, Acquafredda Castle

Siliqua, Acquafredda Castle

Siliqua, Acquafredda Castle

Natural Monument since 1993, the Acquafredda hill and its medieval castle dominate the Cixerri Valley, in a site important for flora, fauna and landscape.
Tradition attributes the construction of the suggestive castle of Acquafredda to the counts of Gherardesca, in the person of the infamous Ugolino, remembered in Dante's Inferno. In fact, in the absence of reliable documentary evidence, the structure of the fortification can be hypothetically placed in the first half of the 13th century.
The Donoratico della Gherardesca came into possession of the S/W part of Sardinia after the fall of the kingdom of Cagliari. With the imprisonment of Ugolino in the Tower of Fame, the castle passed into the hands of the Pisan administration and later, in 1326, it came under the control of the Crown of Aragon.
A document that establishes the demobilization of the troops still staying in the castle dates back to 1408, now useless on an island almost entirely conquered by Aragonese troops. Having become a fief, it was entrusted to Pietro Otger and was later established as a barony in the 16th century. It is not clear if the castle was then habitable. The first documentary evidence of the state of abandonment dates back to 1785, when the castle was defined as “destroyed”.
The fortification is divided into three levels: the village, the tank tower and the actual castle. The village was the lowest part of the whole complex and included a series of rooms suitable for housing servants, troops, stables and warehouses. The whole thing was defended by a crenellated wall, about 80 meters long, in which the traces of four towers and the patrol road have been identified. A tank was also found in the village, turned into a barrel and made of brick bricks.
On the second level, a tank tower is clearly visible, also turned into a barrel and divided into three rooms that could be completely filled with water.
At 256 m high, the actual castle is located, today in an advanced state of decay despite repeated restorations. It had to have a 'U' floor plan and three floors, one of which was underground and two were elevated. Nothing remains of the main tower while the watchtower, located a little lower than the entrance, is preserved.

History of studies
Given the importance of the castle of Acquafredda, numerous studies have been conducted since the end of the 19th century: see the entry “Siliqua” (1850) by Vittorio Angius; a few years later it was Carlo Brundo's contribution. Mario Pintor's study and Foiso Fois's article are more recent. The latter also contributed to the volume “Castles of Medieval Sardinia” (1992). The article by Donatella Salvi was published in 1995, while the one by Stefano Castello and Simonetta was published in 2000.

V. Angius, “Siliqua”, in G. Casalis Historical, Statistical and Commercial Geographical Dictionary of the States by H.M. the King of Sardinia, XX, Turin, G. Maspero, 1850, p. 153;
E. Lucchi, “The castle of Quirra and the tower of Saralà: visions of Sardinia”, in Mediterranea: monthly magazine of island culture and problems, 6, 1932, n. 1, pp. 32-36;
F. Fois, “The castle of Quirra, Rocca dei Carroz: contribution to the history of the fortifications in Sardinia”, in Sardinian Studies, XXIII, 1973-74 , part I, pp. 217-227;
C. Brundo, The castle of Acquafredda. Historical scenes of the 13th century, Cagliari, 1878;
M. Pintor, Acquafredda: the castle of Count Ugolino, Cagliari, 1962;
F. Fois, “The
story among the ruins: the castle of Acquafredda: a cluster of ruins”, in the Cagliari Almanac, 1978, without pages;
F. Fois, Castles of Medieval Sardinia, edited by B. Fois, Cinisello Balsamo, Amilcare Pizzi, 1992, pp. 49-58; R. Coroneo, Romanesque Architecture from the Mid Thousand to the early 1300s, series “History of Art in Sardinia”, Nuoro, Ilisso, 1993, sch. 173;
D. Salvi, “Siliqua, the castle of Acquafredda”, in Medieval Archaeology: Material Culture, Settlements, Territory, 22, 1995, p. 393;
S. Castello-S Sitzia, “The Manor Revisited: New Hypotheses on the Origin of the Castle of Acquafredda near Siliqua”, in Cagliari Almanac, 2000, without pages; G. Serreli, All the Castles of the Four Kingdoms, “Darwin.
Notebooks”, n. 1 (July-August 2006), pp. 104-109.

How to get there
To reach the castle of Acquafredda, take the SS 130 and travel 35 km. At Siliqua, take the SS 293. After 4 km you arrive at the foot of the Acquafredda hill, which you must climb on foot to reach the ruins of the castle.

Structure category: Monument or Monumental Complex

Content type: Fortified architecture

Usability: Open

Province: Sud Sardegna

Common: Siliqua

Macro Territorial Area: South Sardinia


Address: SS 293, km 35

Telephone: +39 349 1564023 +39 349 7428014






Winter -

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday

9:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday

10:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Information on tickets and access: There is a reduction of euro 1.00 on standard prices for ticket holders to the sites of the Temple of Antas, the Santadi Museum System, the great Serbariu mine, Nuraghe Seruci. For residents, the annual subscription from euro 10.00 is extended to the family unit. Reservation required only for guided tours. To view other ticket offers and to check for any changes in opening hours, consult the dedicated page of the website.

Access mode: For a fee

Tickets :

  • Integer : 5 €, adults, without guided tour, .

  • Integer : 8 €, adults, with guided tour, .

  • Reduced : 4 €, groups over 20 people with guided tour, .

  • Reduced : €, children from 6 to 13 years old, .

  • Reduced : 2 €, residents, without guided tour, .

  • Cumulative integer : 10 €, adults, for annual subscription, .

Services information: The last visit in the winter period is scheduled before 16:00, so that it ends before sunset. The castle can be visited with a guide by booking a few days in advance and for groups of at least 8 people, or without, since the path is equipped with information and photo signs. Each guided tour lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Reservations for guided tours, and for educational workshops, can also be made on the website.


12/9/2023 - 11:23


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