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The Sicilian castle of Matagrifone (Rocca Guelfonia)

Mategriffon or Matagrifone or Mathegriffon[1] or Rocca Guelfonia[2] was a medieval castle in Messina, Sicily, initially built as a wooden castle by Richard Ist, king of England and mostly demolished before his departure in 1191 from Messina for the conquest of Cyprus.[3] Another reference to the castle is also made during the Sicilian Vespers, as the place where Charles I of Naples's Vicar Herbert and his family safely stayed during the uprising until their safe departure was negotiated.

During the reign of James II, Matagrifone was used to imprison Baroness Macalda di Scaletta and the Emir Margam ibn Sebir of Djerba, who passed the time playing chess together, the earliest recorded chess playing in Sicily. Only an octagonal tower remains of the castle today, known locally as "Macalda's Tower."[4]

Mattegriffon was also an alternative name to the castle of Akova in the Peloponnese, which formed the seat of the Barony of Akova within the Principality of Achaea in the 13th and the 14th centuries.[5]


  1. ^ Unknown crusader castles, Kristian Molin p.236, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001
  2. ^ "Il Castello di Matagrifone - Rocca Guelfonia". Città di Messina (in Italian). Comune di Messina. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  3. ^ Two accounts of the conquest of Cyprus by Richard I (1191) Archived 2010-12-29 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "La Torre di Macalda". Google Maps. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Voula Konti, BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA, ΣΥΜΜΕΙΚΤΑ 6, ΣΥΜΒΟΛΗ ΣΤΗΝ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΗ ΓΕΩΓΡΑΦΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΑΡΚΑΔΙΑΣ (395-1209) (Contribution to the Historical Geography of Arcadia 395-1209), page 95

Coordinates: 38°11′46.3″N 15°33′7.1″E / 38.196194°N 15.551972°E / 38.196194; 15.551972