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Fortifying the Island at the time of the viceroy Ferrante Gonzaga (1536-1546): sites, master builders and designers, clients

  • Autori: Garofalo, E
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Contributo in atti di convegno pubblicato in volume
  • Parole Chiave: Fortifications, Sicily, Ferrante Gonzaga, Antonio Ferramolino, Building site
  • OA Link:


The ten-year government of Ferrante Gonzaga marks a crucial time in the process of the modernization of the fortifications of the largest island in the Western Mediterranean. Previous studies have already highlighted the cornerstones of the strategy that was pursued and the projects that were undertaken in order to realize an adequate defence system. Also well-known is the extent to which the viceroy himself, as well as the royal engineer Antonio Ferramolino, participated in resolving the longstanding problem of the fortification on the island. However, important new data has emerged from recent research in the archival collections of the Tribunale del Real Patrimonio, conserved in the State Archives of Palermo. Using this largely unpublished documentation, the paper focuses on building sites started during this decade, looking at aspects related to construction as well as to organization and functioning, and on the intertwining of skills and responsibilities of the multiple actors involved in the various phases, from design to execution. The information included in the documents allows us to clarify the state of the art of fortification works undertaken in the main Sicilian cities during the period in question, providing technical and financial data, as well as information on the measures that were adopted to guarantee efficiency and promptness on the sites. Moreover, this knowledge forms a strong basis for a new analysis of the roles played by the different people involved.