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The first fortification at this site was a tower with a quadrangular base, built between 1583 and 1585 by the Florentine architect Camillo Camillani on the order of Marcantonio II Colonna the Younger, Viceroy of Sicily, as part of a defense plan of the Sicilian coast.
The construction of the present fort was started in 1615 by Hernando Petigno, commanding general of the Royal Cavalry of Sicily and Military Governor of Syracuse. The older tower was incorporated into the new fort. The construction was interrupted until 1636 when works resumed under the direction of Serpione Cottone, Marquess d’Altamura. The fort was completed and opened in 1640 and is a rare example of a baroque fortress of which several arose in Sicily in the 17th century.
Fort Sant’Angelo was never attacked and was demilitarized in the 19th century when it was used as a location for a government telegraph from 1849 until 1856.
In the early 1900’s the fort was garrisoned by the Air Force and the fort became a lighthouse. On the morning of July 10, 1943 the so-called D Day for the Anglo-American landing in Sicily, Fort Sant’Angelo was bombarded by the American light cruiser USS Brooklyn and the destroyer USS Buck. This caused a lot of damage which was all repaired later.
In 1965, operation of the lighthouse was canceled and the fort was abandoned.