Getting Stuck Inside Torre Carlo V at the Port of Empedocle, Sicily

Getting stuck into history and culture often means getting literally stuck inside a remnant of history – a stronghold with no exit! So that’s exactly what I did. Unintentionally of course…

torre carlo v

As part of a recent bloggers trip to Sicily, myself together with Patricia Khalil (Descobrindo a Sicília) and Marco Cittadini (Piceno On the Road) visited Torre Carlo V – an ancient tower on Via Francesco Crispi at the Port of Empedocle.

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This tower was built in the 16th and its purpose was to defend the town from military attacks at the shore. The name of the tower, Carlo V, comes from Charles the fifth who was born in Ghent and who took up the throne as the Holy Roman Emperor in 1519.

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Torre Carlo V’s walls are really thick and there are very few windows inside, as with most strongholds. This tower was also once used as a penitentiary and from its structure one can definitely see why

You’ll find some old objects inside including pottery – vases, plates and bowls – all once beautifully decorated and dating back hundreds of years ago.

With much delight I even came across some old coins and even some buttons made from bone!


Here you can see the thickness of the walls and that there really is no escape if say, for instance, you had to be trapped inside…

After exploring the ground floor we moved on to the next level of the ‘torre’. The second level has been renovated in order to accommodate modern art exhibitions by local Sicilian artists. I really loved how they have utilized the space in a more modern manner.

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The exhibition currently on at the Torre Carlo V is titled, “Memory: Lateral and Oblique Views” and the artist is Guiseppe Agnello. Agnello’s sculptures are no doubt fascinating and he explores the human form as well as its connection to natural elements.

 

And then after viewing the exhibition (and as if fate would have it), we attemped to exit Torre Carlo V only to find the very heavy wooden door bolted shut! In panic the males accompanying us on the trip tried to push the door open from inside with no luck. The door was extremely heavy (as are most stronghold doors) and it turns out the person with the ancient key had locked us inside in mistake (and probably went for a siesta too)!

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But we decided to make the most of it and this was a good opportunity to take some selfies of course!

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From left: Marco Cittadini (Piceno On the Road), me, Umberto Cilia (my translator) and Patricia Khalil (Descobrindo a Sicília)

Luckily we found a window with a view onto the road and we managed to catch the attention of some onlookers who then went in search of the keybearer! The escapade lasted only 20 minutes or so but the bond between us bloggers grew as we contemplated what may have been, A Night at the Museum! Una notte al museo! I’m still laughing just thinking about it!

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Eventually the keybearer returned to open for us and apologized – apparently the museum closes for a couple of hours and then reopens again and we failed to read the times correctly. Silly us! So it wouldn’t have been A Night at the Museum after all!

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As you can imagine, the Torre Carlo V left a lasting impression on me. If you’re in the Port of Empedocle in Sicily be sure to stop by for a visit. But be warned! Scrutinize the visiting hours carefully before entering otherwise you just might spend A Night at the Museum. In that case, make sure you have damn good company with for the experience! I was lucky I did!


Let’s get #sicilying – follow the hashtag on Twitter and don’t forget to follow il Daily Slow and The Museum Times‘ Twitter handle. You can also visit the il Daily Slow website for additional slow travel stories (in Italian and English). 

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Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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