The history of the castle

The fortified citadel, commonly known as "Castle", stands on the site of the primitive Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Arab settlements.
However, the continuity of life on the castle, resulting in the destruction of the oldest evidence, did not allow to reconstruct in detail the phases of the site prior to the Norman conquest.

It was under the Normans then, between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, that the Castle assumed not only the function of military defense but also that of reference for the territorial organization of a vast area: dates back to Norman times, in fact, the construction of the Keep.
Under Frederick II of Swabia (13th century), thanks to the work of the architect Riccardo da Lentini, the fortification around the Mastio was enlarged. In the fourteenth century the Aragonese made some changes to the Castle. Under Alfonso the Magnanimous (XV century) there were further alterations, which led, at the end of the same century, thanks to Ferdinando the Catholic, to the creation of powerful walls (Aragonese Walls) that incorporated the Federician structure.

The construction of the Spanish Belt began in 1525, during the reign of Charles V, under the viceroy Ettore Pignatelli. The Spanish walls enclosed the old medieval town. In the area between the Aragonese walls and the Spanish walls were built military, civil and religious buildings.
Inside the ramparts (to the South the Bastion of Santa Maria, built between the sixteenth and early seventeenth century; to the North the Bastion of the Islands, built in the sixteenth century) were made premises to use warehouses and stables; numerous cisterns, distributed in several areas, were used for the supply of water to both civilians and the military.

Meanwhile, perhaps already from the Aragonese era, an unstoppable exodus had begun outside the walls, towards the village and the lower part of the city. The construction of the Duomo Antico dates back to 1608, which was built inside the Spanish walls, as an attempt by the viceroys to stop the movement of the population towards the outside. The former Monastery of the Benedictines and of the Most Holy Saviour, whose construction began in 1616, is located on the site where there were other buildings whose use is unknown.
In 1778, according to the chronicles of the time, a fire, probably of malicious origin, destroyed the Town Hall that stood in front of the Duomo Antico. Following this episode, the civilian inhabitants abandoned the citadel.

In 1860 Milazzo was the scene of the battle between Garibaldini and Bourbons; the clash ended with the removal of the Bourbon garrison installed inside the citadel.