The Castello di Acquafredda (Acquafredda Castle in English) is a ruin located just a few kilometers away from Siliqua, a small but pretty town near Cagliari. The manor isn’t the only attraction in the area, as it was built on a hill of incredible scientific and natural value. Both the town and the castle/hill can be visited one a one-day trip from the capital city, so you won’t need to look for a place to sleep: a packed lunch is all you have to take with you.
Visiting Siliqua if you choose to see the castle is a must. The town has some nice churches, worth some pictures (they were all built by the Aragonese and are quite interesting), plus there are some nuraghe ruins and the Zinnigas water springs in the area.
The main attraction, however, remains the Acquafredda Castle overlooking the valley. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Cagliari from the Castle and the views are simply impressive!
Curious to find out more about the Acquafredda Castle? Continue reading: I have visited many times and I am glad to share what you need to know!
The History Of The Castello Di Acquafredda
Traditionally, it is said that the castle was built upon orders of Count Ugolino della Gheradesca – Italian noblemen, politician and naval commander accused of treason after many died during the Battle of Meloria in defense of Pisa’s harbor. He’s the same Conte Ugolino mentioned by Dante Alighieri in his Inferno, to be clear. However, it’s almost certain that the Acquafredda manor was there before he actually arrived, and that it was probably still built around the 13th century.
Once the Guidicati fell, the Pisans – and Count Ugolino with them – came to rule Southern Sardinia, and the castle became part of their properties. Their kingdom didn’t last long, however, because the island became an Aragonese domain soon afterwards – officially in 1326.
In 1408, all the soldiers still standing guard at the manor were sent home: it was useless to keep troops on an island that was unified under the same ruler. The area – made up of the village underneath the hill (for servers and lower people), the basin tower where the water was kept and the noble’s residence – was quickly abandoned and the Acquafredda Castle slowly turned into ruins.
There have been several attempts to renew the castle but it degrades quicker than it can be fixed, probably also due to the materials the hill and the castle itself are made of.
The Domo Andesitico
The Domo Andesitico is the hill underneath the castle, a unique ecosystem that’s a safe haven for several rare species – especially birds of prey. They love to nest here and the fact that they group and lay their eggs in this place is a great indicator of the area’s clean environment (these animals are quite picky when it comes to building a home somewhere!). You can visit the Domo Andesitico together with the castle, but be careful not to scare the animals. Just bring your binoculars to be able to spot them from a distance!
Practical Information To Visit The Castello Di Acquafredda
Castello di Acquafredda opening hours
The Castle of Acquafredda is open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and can be visited both independently, with a map that you will be provided at the ticket office, or with a guided tour that you will need to book by calling the numbers +393491564023 – +393497428014. I wholeheartedly recommend joining a guided tour as it provide lots of insightful information into the history and construction of the castle.
Castello di Acquafredda tickets
Tickets to the Castle of Acquafredda are €8 full-price and with the guided tour; €5 full price without the guided tour; €3,50 reduced without a guided tour and €4,50 reduced with a guided tour. Reduced prices apply to kids 6 to 13 years old and to visitors who are over 65 years of age.
What to bring for your visit
Since you can visit Siliqua and Acquafredda Castle in a day, you can limit what you bring with you to the bare minimum. Just carry some food with you in case you are thinking of having a picnic – there is a lovely picnic area at the bottom of the hill in a nice forest with plenty of shade. Make sure to also bring a camera and if you have them, take a pair of binoculars as the views from the Castle are impressive, spanning all the way to Cagliari.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and wear a hat to block out the UV rays – they are merciless even in winter. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your adventure!
How to get there
Siliqua and the Acquafredda castle are just a short drive from Cagliari. The best way to get there is by car: follow State Road E25 and SS 130 to Villaspeciosa, then take the State Road SP90 to Siliqua. The castle is 4 km (2.5 miles) outside the town, easy to spot (in fact, it’s a lovely view as you approach!) and reach.
For a guided tour of Acquafredda Castle departing from Cagliari, click here.