Real Cittadella in Messina
The Real Cittadella di Messina is a 17th century fortress built to defend the port of the city.
It stands on the San Ranieri peninsula a small strip of land from the characteristic sickle shape that closes the natural port of Messina. It faced both the open sea and the port, and was isolated with a moat towards the hinterland, while the tip of the peninsula was garrisoned by the sixteenth-century Fort of the Santissimo Salvatore.
It was built towards the end of the seventeenth century on a project by engineer Carlos de Grunenbergh. The fortress was the protagonist in war episodes and attacks during the following centuries, but it was never conquered, surrendering only after long sieges due to lack of supplies during the expedition of the Thousand, when the citadel fell on March 12, 1861 The fortress was heavily damaged by the port works and some curtain walls and ramparts on the inside were totally demolished.
The entrance to the Citadel was through the monumental Porta Grazia, which in 1961 was dismantled and reassembled in Piazza Casa Pia. The fortress has a star shape with five corner bastions, typical of the seventeenth-century evolution of the fortification. The defensive structure was then completed by ravelins and numerous other external works. The particular pentagonal structure was built so that its cannons could fire against the city itself, this in order to suppress any anti-Spanish removed.
After a long period of decay, the Royal Citadel has been restored and today it can be visited .