Spanish dynasty of rulers, patrons and collectors, active in Italy. The county of Aragon was established as a kingdom in 1035 under Ramiro I (reg 1035–63), son of Sancho III the Great, King of Navarre (reg 1000–35). In the 13th century James I the Conqueror, King of Aragon (reg 1213–76), extended the kingdom by taking control of Valencia and the Balearic islands. His son, Peter III, King of Aragon (reg 1276–85), also became King of Sicily in 1282, following a revolt against the rule of the House of Anjou. Separate branches of the Aragonese dynasty, which included Peter IV, King of Aragon (reg 1336–87), ruled the two kingdoms until 1409, when Martin, King of Aragon (reg 1395–1410), succeeded to the kingdom of Sicily. On his death in 1410 both kingdoms were given to his nephew, Ferdinand (reg 1412–16), son of John I, King of Castile (reg 1379–90). Ferdinand’s successor, Alfonso (who ruled as Alfonso V, King of Aragon and Sicily), was the adopted heir of the Queen of Naples and seized control of the kingdom of Naples in 1442, becoming Alfonso I. He and his descendants (who reigned until 1504), including Ferdinand I and Alfonso II, embarked on extensive programmes of building in the city, the most notable work being the improvements to the fortress of Castelnuovo.
Joan Isobel Friedman