A tutela et difensa di quisto regno

The Castello a mare in Palermo and the regional fortifications of Sicily in the age of Ferdinand the Catholic (1479-1516)

- Protagonists, Builders and Workers -


By Alexander Gaeta

The legacy of Ferdinand the Catholic in Sicily is little appreciated. His central role in an architectural revolution, which for unity of purpose and scale of objectives is comparable to the works of fortifications undertaken by Frederick II of Swabia, is the study of this new book by Alexander Gaeta. Based on years of research and study of Sicilian archives, and the analyses and examination of many fortified sites, it sheds new light on the process of the fortification of the island under the aegis of the Trastàmara dynasty and the influence of a powerful monarch on many forgotten aspects of fifteenth century historiography.

Among Ferdinand's grandiose projects, some of which were grafted on antiquated and obsolete systems of defence, were the first great naval yard in the kingdom of Sicily, an extensive building program of six major castles – Palermo, Milazzo, Trapani, Messina, Catania and Syracuse – and the fortification of regional cities. All the works were conducted under the direction of the military engineers of the House of Aragon, protagonists in the defence of the island for over twenty years who until now were practically forgotten especially amongst the proponents and interpreters of the so-called "transitional" period in the development of military architecture.

This is a story that runs through the second half of the fifteenth century until the death of the king in 1516 – and concerns the triumph of the Iberian school of fortification prior to the emergence of the Italian bastioned system. It reveals the personal commitment of King Ferdinand to the defence of the borders of his kingdom and his commitment to the safeguard and welfare of the people who lived under the protection of the crown of Aragon.

The book can be bought online here

The Author is happy to receive questions or requests. He may be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ISBN 978.88.96414.37.8

Language: Italian

Format 21x26, pages 528 - about 150 images in black and white

Keywords: Fortifications, Castles, Sicily, History, Military Architecture, Ferdinand the Catholic.


Alexander Gaeta

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