The History of Milazzo

The history of Milazzo dates back to the first human settlements of the Neolithic age (4000 BC). It is with the Sicels, however, that the city acquires wealth until the end of the seventh or the first of the sixth century. BC, when begins the expansionist hegemony of the Greek populations of Zancle (today’s Messina) also the residential nucleus of Milazzo was subdued by these and transformed into a “Polis” fortified, submission to nearby Messina hard until 270 BC. In the Roman period its waters were the scene of two important naval battles. In 260 BC. the town witnessed the triumph of the Roman fleet commanded by the Consul Caius Duilius over the Carthaginian (First Punic War).

In 36 B.C. two centuries later, Milazzo became an important naval base of Sesto Pompeo, was linked to the events of the civil war between the latter and Ottaviano for the naval victory of Vipsanio Agrippa, commander of Ottaviano’s fleet over Sesto Pompeo. Under the Eastern Empire, the town was not only part of an important defensive triangle, but also became one of the main Sicilian bishoprics. With its expansion in 843 by Fadhl In Giàfar begins the Muslim domination. In 1061 Ruggero d’Altavilla took possession of the city and the fortress rises a bridgehead for the Norman conquest and the expulsion of Muslims from Sicily. Then incorporated in the royal domain of Frederick II of Swabia, his new castle was inserted, among the “castra exenta” under the direct royal jurisdiction.

In the War of Vespers (1282) Milazzo was alternately occupied by two sovereign contenders: Charles of Anjou and Peter of Aragon. For almost a century, after it was taken again by the Angevins in 1341 and until the beginning of the seventeenth century. Milazzo was at the center of numerous and troubled war related to the feudal conflicts that bloodied Sicily. During the Spanish domination the city increased its strategic importance. They are of this period the last most important and imposing fortifications of the historic castle that can still be admired. It was also several times the seat of the Viceroy and the Lieutenants of Sicily.

The last vestiges of Spanish rule ended in 1713 when the sovereignty of Sicily passed to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. In vain was the attempt of reconquest by Philip V of Spain, who engaged the Austro-Piedmontese troops in the vast and bloody siege of the city from July 1718 to May 1719. During this siege were serious damage or destruction of the historical and monumental heritage. With the settlement of the Bourbons on the throne of the Two Sicilies, the city retained its military strategic role. On 20 July 1860, Milazzo was the scene of the famous and decisive battle between the troops of Garibaldi and the troops of Francis II of Bourbon. With the advent of the Kingdom of Italy the city lost its strategic military importance. During the last world war Milazzo suffered massive and bloody bombing. Identified as the landing area in the English invasion plan of Sicily, its port was greatly enhanced in the defences as an important maritime, railway and military center.