Boundary walls and fortifications in Santo Domingo

Original name

Boundary walls and fortifications in Santo Domingo

Geographic Area

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Central America

Reference Project

Survey of the fragments of walls along the defensive perimeter of the city for the study of the defense of the oldest capital of America

Site description

The colonial city of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is the first permanent establishment in the "New World". It is also the first fortified city (Santo Domingo fortress and its Torre del Homenaje) and the first headquarters of Spanish power in the New World. This, together with its other records, has included it in the UNESCO heritage since 1990. The research project deals with the study of Antonelli's fortification project for the colonial city. The Italian military engineer Battista Antonelli, commissioned by Philip II, King of Spain, arrived in Santo Domingo in 1589 to design new fortresses and provide for the improvement of existing ones. The capital already housed the Fortress of Ozama, and there was a project to set up the walls to fortify the city perimeter in a modern way. However, the capital had already lost a large part of its political importance and commercial prosperity, and the enclosure designed for the new walls was also very far from the urban center. Antonelli developed a new design of the walls, bringing them closer to the city and adding alternate bastions along their extension, with the addition of strongholds to improve the accuracy and distribution of the ramparts and gunboats. The new, lower defensive wall included a small external moat, a sequence of Bastions, equipped for grazing shooting, and fortified gates. What remains of these structures today are some traces, legible in the layout of the urban system of Santo Domingo.The church was closed in the late 1920s and became a warehouse for the storage of agricultural products, which was left abandoned.


The Project was supported by Italian ambassy in Santo Domingo.

Sandro Parrinello
Mauricia Dominguez

University of Pavia -UNIPV
Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña - UNPHU

Survey Activities

Laser Scanner
Silvia La Placa, UNIPV
Namibia Batista, UNPHU
Michael Checo, UNPHU
Brian Lugo, UNPHU

UAVs Photogrammetry
Sandro Parrinello, UNIPV
Anderson Batista, UNPHU

Silvia La Placa, UNIPV

Post production Activities

3D Laser Scanner Point Cloud
Silvia La Placa, UNIPV

3D UAVs Point Cloud
Anderson Batista, UNPHU

  • Gallery
  • Point Cloud

Documentation Methodology

The project was conducted in January 2020, on the occasion of the conference "Experiencias de investigation of the experimental laboratory Dada LAB de la Universidad de Pavia: La documentacion y mejora del Patrimonio Arquitectonico y el estudio de trabajo de Gli Antonelli en America Central" held by Prof. Parrinello at the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña.

The survey actions were carried out under the responsibility of Prof. Parrinello and Prof. Mauricia Dominguez, with the collaboration of Ph.D. student Silvia La Placa (Unipv), with the participation of students from the University of Santo Domingo. The methodological and instrumentation choices, applied on a case by case basis to the surveying actions, were both an opportunity for research and training. The DAda LAB research laboratory has made available digital detection systems (Laser Scanner and SFM Structure from Motion) for the creation of 3D databases and the development of information systems functional to the knowledge of the dimensional and construction characteristics of the historical architecture.

The investigation of the remains of the fortified walls designed by Antonelli was carried out using both Laser Scanner and aerial photogrammetry to obtain a completeness of data. In the data processing phase, experimentations and comparisons between diversified uses of software were carried out to explore the possibilities of integration of different data source.

The point cloud obtained was recorded to have a significant comparison in terms of timing and metric and colorimetric quality of the 3D elaborate.


Parrinello, S., (2021). The walls of Santo Domingo and Documentation of the Construction Project by Antonelli family. In Canepari, A. (a cura di), The Italian legacy in the Dominican Republic. History, Architecture, Economics Society. Vol 1, Philadelphia: Saint Joseph's University Press, pp. 239-249, ISBN 978-0-916101-10-7. ResearchGate

Parrinello, S., (2021). La documentazione dei lavori degli Antonelli e le mura di Santo Domingo. Un progetto per lo studio dei caratteri costruttivi dell'architettura militare dominicana. In Canepari, A. (a cura di), L'eredità italiana nella Repubblica Dominicana. Storia, Architettura, Economia e Società. Vol 1, Torino: Allemandi, pp. 237-245, ISBN 978-88-422-2524-9. ResearchGate

Picchio, F., De Marco, R., Dell’Amico, A., Doria, E., Galasso, F., La Placa, S., Miceli, A., Parrinello, S., (2020). Procedure di analisi e modellazione urbana per la gestione dei centri storici. Betlemme, Solikamsk, Cattaro e Santo Domingo. Paesaggio Urbano, vol. 2, p. 103 - 115, ISSN 1120-3544. ResearchGate