Antonino Paternò Castello

Antonino Paternò Castello
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
24 December 1905  8 February 1906
Prime Minister Alessandro Fortis
Preceded by Alessandro Fortis
Succeeded by Count Francesco Guicciardini
In office
31 March 1910  16 October 1914
Prime Minister Luigi Luzzatti
Giovanni Giolitti
Antonio Salandra
Preceded by Count Francesco Guicciardini
Succeeded by Sidney Sonnino
Personal details
Born Antonino Paternò Castello
(1852-12-09)9 December 1852
Catania, Italy
Died 16 October 1914(1914-10-16) (aged 61)
Rome, Italy
Political party Historical Right

Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis di San Giuliano (Catania, 9 December 1852 – Rome, 16 October 1914), was an Italian diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Early life and political career

Antonino Paternò Castello was born in Catania, Sicily, in a family of ancient Sicilian nobility. Inhis younger years he studied economics and sociology, and published articles on agriculture, industry, population, labour legislation, and emigration in various journals.[1]

In 1882 he was elected to parliament and aligned himself with Sidney Sonnino, representing the conservatives who identified with the old Historical Right. In the early years of the 20th century, he focused on foreign policy in the years of the polarization of European powers into the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente blocs. He was convinced that Italy's national interest could best advanced by balancing itself between the two competing alliances.[1]

Foreign policy

He conducted a policy of friendship toward France, while remaining faithful to Italy's commitments to Austria-Hungary and the German Empire. He served as foreign minister (1905–06), ambassador to London (1906–09), ambassador to Paris (1909–10), and foreign minister (1910–14). An advocate of colonial expansion, his diplomacy cleared the way for the occupation of Libya during the Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912). He resisted the expansion of Austria-Hungary in the Balkans, supported Italian economic penetration of Montenegro, and the independence of Albania.[1]

World War I

When World War I broke out, he implemented a policy of neutrality but did not rule out intervention, according to Prime Minister Antonio Salandra's policy of "sacred egoism" (sacro egoismo).[2] Negotiating with both the Triple Entente and Triple Alliance powers, he insisted on gaining maximum territorial concessions for participation in the war to fulfill Italy’s irrendentist claims.[2]

He became seriously ill in October 1914 and retired. His successor, Sidney Sonnino, followed the negotiating strategy set by Paternò Castello, leading to the secret Treaty of London or London Pact (Italian: Patto di Londra) with the Triple Entente. According to the pact, Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the Triple Entente. Italy was to declare war against Germany and Austria-Hungary within a month in return for territorial concessions at the end of the war.


  1. 1 2 3 Sarti, Italy: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present, pp. 539-40
  2. 1 2 Clark, Modern Italy: 1871 to the present, p. 219
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