History says that:
Antignano was acquired between 1548 and 1557 by Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de’Medici, Duke of Florence, with the aim of turning the wild, wooded area into a flourishing farm.
Construction of the castle began in 1560 and was finished in 1567. Benvenuto Cellini tells of accompanying Cosimo on horseback to a place 4 miles to the south of Livorno, where he was building a small fort. The historian, Pera, recounts how during
The night of 21 May 1562, 10 people were kidnapped by pirates at Antignano, and no doubt this accelerated the building work.
An overall view of the structure can be seen from a map dating before 1675, preserved in the Florence State Archives. There are two gates, one facing the sea and the other inland, a small church, originally named St.s Cosimo and Damiano, and later St. Lucia, lodgings for the garrison and workers and rooms for the Duke’s family. The bastion at the four corners are known as the Bell Bastion (south-west), the Fornace Bastion (north-west), the Fountain Bastion (north-east) and the Garden Bastion (south-east).
Nearby the fort, to the north-west along the coast, past the Bandinella strema, there was a lookout tower and two furnaces, probably to make material needed for construction of the fort and which after, continued to operate for the Livorno Factory. Because of its isolated position, in 1631 Antignano was used to quarantine “Lombard” troops, back from an expedition to the State of Milan at the service of the King of Spain, and infected with the plaghe; there were many deaths among the inhabitans too.
From a description by Colonel Odoardo Warren, the fort’s armaments in 1749 were: Three 4-pound calibre pieces and two 1-pound calibre, six mortars, sixteen muskets and various ammunition. The garrison consisted of one officer, one caporal one gunner and thirteen soldiers, both regular and reinforcements.
In 1878, the Cremoni family acquired the structure, turning it into an elegant, luxury seaside hotel. Subsequent modification have completely changed its appearance, and today the only recognisable part remaining is the ravelin facing the sea.