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Classic pentagonal bastion, the rampart of Monserrato was built in 1562 by the engineer Rocco Cappellino, in order to protect the eastern side of Marina district. Originally dedicated to St. James, he changed name after 1604, when the Benedictines of Montserrat built their convent near it. In the period from 1756 to 1813, when part of it was used as a cemetery for the military hospital nearby, it was also known as Bastion of the Dead.
The resignation due to the Royal Decree of 1867, opened the way for the assignment to private and to the change of use of the ancient defensive garrison.
In 1869, a freshwater establishment was installed, a part of which, a little later, was transformed into a Hotel.
“The Iron Staircase” (that was the name of the accommodation) only kept from the Bastion the five sides plan of the original building; built in neo-Gothic style, it was characterized by two towers in the facade with false battlements, trap doors and windows.
Renowned for luxury rooms and a garden decorated with antiques and works of art, the hotel hosted distinguished visitors such as the English writer David Herbert Lawrence and the Italian actor Antonio De Curtis, better known as Totò.
Currently, after further revisions, which have significantly reduced the neo-Gothic features dating from the late nineteenth century, the palace houses the offices of the Prefecture.
During the restoration works, some excavations have unearthed sepulchral remains, cremation tombs and sarcophagi, dated back to the period between the end of the 1st and 3rd centuries AD, belonging to the East necropolis of the ancient Karales, that today represents a small but suggestive archaeological area.