Fortification of the Rock of Gibraltar

Original name

Antonelli's fortifications of the Rock of Gibraltar

Geographic Area

Gibraltar, United Kingdom

Reference Project

Documentation of Antonelli's fortifications

Site description

The Rock of Gibraltar rises on the West, on the European side, closing the Mediterranean basin, and corresponds to the Phoenician Calpe, one of the two Hercules’ columns that in antiquity bordered the limit of the world. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the small peninsula is characterized by a promontory with cliffs overlooking the sea and it has an history intimately linked to its strategic position and therefore characterized by military events and the development of fortifications to defend the important commercial port and outpost control of Mediterranean. First military structures date back to Arab conquest even if not much remains of the high-medieval fortresses, especially as result of numerous conquer wars that alternated from 1309, when King of Castile Ferdinando IV tried to reclaim the peninsula, until 1501 when the city was finally incorporated into the dominions of Queen Isabella of Castile. In 1552 Carlo I sent Giovanni Battista Antonelli, an Italian military engineer at the service of Spanish Crown, to erect bastions and a military wall to fortify the city. The remains of Antonelli’s fortresses are still visible today.


Sandro Parrinello

UNIPV, University of Pavia

Survey Activities

Terrestrial Photogrammetry
Raffaella De Marco
Anna Dell'Amico
Francesca Picchio

Raffaella De Marco, Anna Dell'Amico, Francesca Picchio, Sandro Parrinello

Post production Activities

3D model
Anna Dell'Amico

  • Gallery
  • 3D Model


Documentation Methodology

The first inspection (2017), aimed at analysis and documentation of the wall portions, he highlighted complexity of urban stratification e territorial morphology for the recognition of portions of the wall remained, often deconstructed with the insertion of the road system or incorporated within urban units and building complexes. The south bastion, in particular, encountered one perimeter development affected by steep height differences, starting from the altitude of Regged Staff Gates reference with a first level about 5 meters from Southport Gate and a second about 8 meters from Prince Edward's Gate. The accessibility to the wall portions, given the morphological discontinuity of the land and the extension presence of vegetation, has bound the survey methodology for the acquisition metrics, favoring the application of procedures Structure from Motion photogrammetry from manual chamber, allowing operators one greater adaptability of shooting for return overall of the fortified form. The area of bastion was split into 4 chunks of acquisition (Prince Edward Gate, the Trafalgar cemetery, South Port Gate and the portion of rampart of Ragged Staff Road), individually processed in high-poly mode.

The development of 3D model as a system information for archiving metadata on history of the fortresses of Gibraltar, that may be asset protection instrument and through the which to access historical information on the individual bastions to be able to rebuild and enjoy virtually a hypothetical path that you illustrate the evolution of the defensive system, yes configured as a research goal. In this sense the three-dimensional model was designed to provide a tool for management of the walls, thinking about the possibilities of fully evaluate the monumental value of the ruins in order to foresee virtuous processes of scheduled maintenance functional to requalification of the wall system..


Parrinello, S., Picchio, F., De Marco, R., Dell'Amico, A. (2018). In Proceedigns of DEFENSIVE ARCHITECTURE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN Vol. IX. A. Marotta, R. Spallone (Ed.) Sul limitare del Mediterraneo: Antonelli e la fortificazione di Gibilterra. (vol. IX, pp. 1083-1090). Politecnico di Torino. ISBN: 978-88-85745-12-4. ResearchGate