Gonzaga Castle in Messina
The Gonzaga Castle of Messina, which stands on the top of Colle del Tirone, is an example of the military architectural evolution of the 16th century in Messina.
The castle played a strategic role in the control of movements throughout the strait, closing, together with the nearby Castellaccio, access to the city also from behind through the hills, thus blocking the passage to all the roads leading from the Sicilian hinterland to to the city.
It was built around 1540, by the viceroy Don Ferrante Gonzaga, as part of the construction of an imposing defensive system extended to the entire city commissioned by the Emperor Charles V of Habsburg, based on a design by the military architect Antonio Ferramolino who brought the new forms of modern fortifications and bastion architecture to the island. The fortress was involved in war episodes and attacks during the following centuries, but has remained substantially intact, also resisting the various earthquakes that have affected Messina. Remained in use by the army until a few decades ago, today it is owned by the municipality.
The small but imposing defensive structure has a low shape with a strong escarpment and a stellar layout with six large angular triangular bastions with coated edges of limestone blocks. The perimeter of the fort is surrounded by moats. The fortress, placed in a position with a wide view of the city and the strait, had the task of an outpost towards the interior to prevent attacks from the ground, through the Peloritani.