The history and evolution of Malta’s unique systems of fortifications have so far generally been researched in Maltese archives. Francesco Menchetti explores the subject from a wholly different and novel perspective: what non-Maltese archives, mostly untapped, have to say about the determining influence of Renaissance Italian architects and military engineers in the progressive shaping of one of the most formidable schemes of defence in the whole world. His contribution is conclusive for a new understanding of the creators’ work and for the appreciation of their creations.
Up to the time of Grand Master Ramon Perellos, when the trend shifted from the dominant Italian tradition to the innovative breakthroughs of French military architecture, the transformation of Malta from defenceless island to impregnable fortress bore the stamp of Italian Renaissance genius.
The author traces the input of many of the greatest Italian figures in the science of fortification and hydraulics, as well as gardens and landscapes into the Malta concept, and dedicates a whole chapter to the problematic defence of Gozo.
Very aptly the book rounds off with an analysis of the contribution of Italian creativity to the Maltese architectural panorama of the twenty-first century.