South of Siracusa lies a large bay which is delimited by the Ortigia island and Plemmirio nature reserve promontory. The Maniace castle is strategically located at the southern tip of Ortigia island. It was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and is one of the most important buildings of the Hohenstaufen kingdom (socalled "Swabian period"). The castle is nowadays open for tourists, but is relatively unimpressive as the interiors are empty and undergoing restoration.
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