Excavations carried out inside and outside the castle have highlighted pre-existing structures ranging from the sixth century B.C. to the 11th century A.D. In the middle of the 12th century, there was already a castle.

The cylindrical tower was built in the 13th century. During the 14th century, the rooms on the sides of the large hall were raised. Emperor Charles V provided the castle with a new defensive apparatus to resist foreseeable raids by the Turks that infested the coasts of Sicily with frequent attacks. In the 17th century, some work was carried out to adapt to its function as a “juror house “. Starting from the 20th century, the first restoration work began. After the earthquake occured  in 1968 , the building was evacuated and again abandoned. From 1989 to 1990, restoration resumed in the south tower and in the south room of the great hall. In the period between 1999 and 2000,  the work restored the east tower and the east room of the great hall. Recently, the cylindrical tower was freed from the iron belts that had been placed after the earthquake.


The Arab geographer Idrisi reported the first historical information (dating 1150) and described Sanam (Salemi) as a farmhouse and castle (hisn). In 1296, Frederick II of Aragon sold the castle and land of Salemi to Blasco Alagona. In 1392, Queen Mary and Martin the Younger stayed in the castle. The 11th November 1411 is the most glorious page for this castle; in fact it was stipulated the confederation of the Universitates of the surroundings of Mazara  (Trapani, Marsala, Mazara, Salemi, Mount San Giuliano, Castelvetrano and Partanna) that, with solemn oath, decided to defend the widow of King Martin, Queen Bianca of Navarre,  against Bernardo Cabrera. The notoriety of this castle is due to a circumstance that has nothing to do with its historical past and even less with its artistic importance. On May 13th 1860, after the landing in Marsala, Giuseppe Garibaldi triumphantly entered Salemi and planted on the round tower the national tricolor. A marble plaque commemorates this event. In its long history, the castle walls have seen four kings: Peter of Aragon on 25th  October 1282; King Martin and Queen Mary on 2nd April 1392; Ferdinand IV on 22nd April 1810 and the future King Umberto II on 29th March 1943.

SMS Salemi