The Fortezza del Tocco is a fort in Acireale. It was built in the 16th century to defend the city from attacks by pirates.
After the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Barbary pirates continued to raid the Sicilian coastline. In 1582, Uluç Ali attempted to raid Acireale. Although the raid was unsuccessful, the population were afraid of further attacks and began fortifying the area.
The Spanish (then the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily) built the Fortezza del Tocco between 1592 and 1616. The fort was designed by Camillo Camilliani and Vincenzo Geremia. Other nearby fortifications that were also built around the same time as the Fortezza del Tocco include the Torre Alessandrano, the Torre di Sant'Anna and the Garitta di S. Tecla.
Some modifications were made to the fort in the early 17th century. It repelled a French attack in 1675.
The fort lost its importance and was decommissioned in the 19th century. Its last guns were removed in 1834, and were taken to the Pinacoteca Zelantea de Acireale, where they remain today.
Since 1999, the fort and the surrounding area have been a nature reserve. It is open to the public.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.