Historical background

Milazzo was founded some 2500 years ago by the founders of Zancle, today’s Messina, under the name of Mylae. Its position has always been considered strategic thanks to the promontory that extends over the Tyrrhenian Sea for about 5 km. In 260 B.C., Milazzo was the site of the Roman victory against the Carthaginians during the First Punic War.

In 36 B.C., another decisive battle took place between Emperor Octavian and Sextus Pompey. The city became an important naval base, so much so that the Roman Emperor granted civic recognition with the eagle and the motto ‘Aquila mari imposita – Sexto Pompeo superato’. During Byzantine rule, Milazzo was one of the first bishoprics in Sicily.

When Roger I of Altavilla (The Norman) incorporated Milazzo into the Royal territory in 1101, the Tower MASCHIO was fortified by Frederick II of Swabia and Alfonso V of Aragon and transformed to all intents and purposes into the Norman castle that we can still admire today.

Over the years it housed the Viceroys and lieutenants of Sicily.

Churches

Among the most important monuments in Milazzo is the ancient cathedral inside the fortified town. Erected by Camilliani, a pupil of Michelangelo, it was built to replace the Church of Santa Maria, which was pulled down in the mid-16th century for military reasons.

The New Cathedral, consecrated to St Stephen Protomartyr, was instead inaugurated in 1951.

In the Spanish town, the Old Village, there are many churches: the Church of San Rocco, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Church of the Santissimo Salvatore, the Church of Nostra Signora del SS Rosario (seat of the Inquisition Court until 1782), the Church of San Giuseppe and the Sanctuary of San Francesco di Paola (the only sanctuary dedicated to him in the entire region).

Towards Capo Milazzo is the Sanctuary of St Anthony of Padua, on the tip of the promontory since 1232.

The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore is located in the Vaccarella district. It was built in 1610 and from a historical point of view is remembered for having been a rest camp for Garibaldi’s Thousand.

Historical Palaces

Palazzo d’Amico is located on Milazzo’s seafront and was recently restored. It houses the municipal library and is also the venue for numerous exhibitions and conferences. Among the most important relics inside is the desk and bed used by Garibaldi on the eve of the Battle of Milazzo in 1860.
In the hamlets of Capo Milazzo and Piana, there are several manor houses, including:

  • Villa Lucifero (17th-19th century)
  • Villa Proto formerly Siragusa in Moorish style (early 20th century)
  • Villa Paradiso Bonaccorsi (18th – 19th century)
  • Villa Vece
  • Villa Muscianisi formerly of the Friars Minor of St. Francis of Paola
  • Villa Le Donne today Caruso (first half of the 19th century)
  • Villa Gamberini today Comandè
  • Villa Ryolo (1822)
  • Villa Calcagno formerly Zirilli (1882)
  • Villa Vaccarino (1929)
  • Villa Greco (1907)
  • Villa Zirilli (19th century)
  • Villa Bevaqua
  • Villa Cumbo

Monuments

The most important monuments are:

  • i Caduti Milazzesi per la Patria located in Piazza Roma (erected in 1924
  • the Mela Fountain located in front of the Church of the Carmin
  • the Statue of Liberty built in honour of Garibaldi; by the Milazzese sculptor Francesco Greco and inaugurated in the presence of Francesco Crispi on 20 July 1897, it stands about halfway along the Giuseppe Garibaldi Promenade. On the pedestal adorned with inscriptions are bronze reliefs depicting Giuseppe Garibaldi on the left, in the act of defending himself with his sabre from a Bourbon knight, and on the right, the general resting on the threshold of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Above the high plinth is depicted Liberty made of marble, with broken chains at her feet; Liberty holds a torch high in her right hand and rests her left hand on a shield. It is objectively reminiscent of the well-known monument in New York. It was made to celebrate the fallen in the battle that pitted Garibaldi and his troops against the Bourbon army
  • the Statue of Luigi Rizzo
  • the Milazzo Bridge monument erected to commemorate the famous battle of 20 July 1860
  • the large floor mosaic depicting the municipal coat of arms located in the atrium of the Chiesa del Carmine.

The Ancient Village

The old town is to all intents and purposes a monumental heritage consisting of churches, convents and monasteries and noble palaces that determined the formation of the layout of the town between the 15th and 18th centuries.
The need for expansion due to population growth, the need for new defensive systems and the search for new spaces led to the establishment of new residential nuclei outside the perimeter of the walled city.