Forte Gonzaga

Messina, Italy

In the 1540s, the fortifications of Messina were being modernized due to fears of the expanding Ottoman Empire. Forte Gonzaga was built on the hill of Montepiselli, outside the city walls. It was able to defend the mountainous landward approach to the city, and it also overlooked the Strait of Messina. The fort was designed by Antonio Ferramolino, a military engineer from Bergamo. He was assisted by Francesco Maurolico, a native of Messina. It was named after the Viceroy of Sicily Don Ferrante Gonzaga, and was completed in 1545.

The Ottoman threat was reduced after the Catholic victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and the fort's importance began to decline. It saw use during the 1674–78 uprising against Spanish rule. Spain eventually lost Sicily in 1713, but invaded the island five years later during the War of the Quadruple Alliance. During the invasion, the fort did not offer much resistance and was captured by the Spanish general Luca Spinola.

During the Sicilian revolution of 1848, the fort was captured by rebels, who used it to bombard the Real Cittadella which was still in Bourbon hands.

Forte Gonzaga saw use in World War II when it was used by German and Italian forces prior to the Allied invasion, and it was subsequently used by American forward observers to direct artillery fire during the invasion of Italy. It remained a military establishment until 1973, when the Italian Army handed it to the municipality of Messina. There are plans to restore the fort and turn it into a museum and conference centre.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

Via Gelone, Messina, Italy
See all sites in Messina

Details

Founded: 1545
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jakub LBC (12 months ago)
Nothing special.
Antonio Riggio (12 months ago)
Castle of the '500 rich in history, from which you can admire the city and the Strait of Messina. The place is made accessible thanks to the commitment and dedication of the volunteers of the Gonzaga association. I hope that the administration invests to enhance this artistic and cultural asset so that it can become an obligatory destination for tourists.
Pan Damon (2 years ago)
I sincerely hope the association that manages it will be able to keep the fort open more often. At the moment there is relatively little to see, but a lot to discover. Well worth a visit and reassess. They should put in the entrance fee and reinvest that money to restore the rest of the structure, because it deserves.
Riccardo Samperi (3 years ago)
In the 1540s, the fortifications of Messina were being modernized due to fears of the expanding Ottoman Empire. Forte Gonzaga was built on the hill of Montepiselli, outside the city walls. It was able to defend the mountainous landward approach to the city, and it also overlooked the Strait of Messina. The fort was designed by Antonio Ferramolino, a military engineer from Bergamo. He was assisted by Francesco Maurolico, a native of Messina. It was named after the Viceroy of Sicily Don Ferrante Gonzaga, and was completed in 1545. The Ottoman threat was reduced after the Catholic victory in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, and the fort's importance began to decline. It saw use during the 1674–78 uprising against Spanish rule. Spain eventually lost Sicily in 1713, but invaded the island five years later during the War of the Quadruple Alliance. During the invasion, the fort did not offer much resistance and was captured by the Spanish general Luca Spinola. During the Sicilian revolution of 1848, the fort was captured by rebels, who used it to bombard the Real Cittadella which was still in Bourbon hands. Forte Gonzaga saw use in World War II, and it remained a military establishment until 1973, when the Italian Army handed it to the municipality of Messina. There are plans to restore the fort and turn it into a museum and conference centre.
Maxi 929 (5 years ago)
Forte Umbertino
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Glimmingehus

Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".