Sicily’s coasts are studded with fortifications, a few which are still intact and serve as a testimony of the island’s thousand year old history. Their original function of defence and control was closely linked to aspects of formality and strategic positioning in the Mediterranean. For this reason, they once constituted strong holds on the territory and represented important elements of symbolic connotations. They have been transformed through the centuries, by man’s actions as well as natural occurrences, and have therefore lost their original significance. Regardless of this fact, they are still capable of giving a strong sense of identity to the topos and of recognition to the collective imagination.
The fortifications’ emerging masses seem tightly linked to the cliff and the sweeping expanse of the sea which have the duty, still today, of evoking the identifying character of the area. The grandeur of the fortified walls speaks to the vastness of the sea and the depths of the abysses. The material and chromatic aspects of the stones, in contrast with the transparency of the water, tend to melt, taking on qualities of agility and sculptural composition. These aspects take on an identity of their own to the point of affecting the surfaces of the walls, highlighting the more rugged and uneven edges while softening those that are smoother.
The three castles of Syracuse, Catania, and Aci are clear examples of unique systems that are environmentally integrated and interrelated with each other because of their peculiarity.