Antonino Paternò Castello, Marquis of San Giuliano, diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs born in Catania. He studied economics and sociology, and published articles on agriculture, industry, population, labor legislation, and emigration. San Giuliano became mayor of Catania at the age of 26. In 1882 he promoted a project for a major rail line “Circumetnea” that, deemed too expensive, was rejected. San Giuliano then resigned and run as candidate for the Chamber of Deputies but his victory was canceled because he was not 30 years old yet. After a new election, which confirmed the results of the first, from January 24th 1883, the Marquis would keep his sit at the Chamber of Deputies until 1904 (7 consecutive legislatures). During his deputy life, he changed constantly affiliation. However, he always judged his alliances in relation to the commitment shown in foreign policy to defend the interests of Italy and, in domestic policy, in improving the conditions of the South.
In 1899 the Marquis was commissioned to Postmaster General. During his mandate, he optimized shipping lines in the Mediterranean allowing goods traveling from the Suez Canal in Venice to do it with a single company, the “General Navigation”. In just over a year he also established the telegraphic connection between Catania and mainland Italy, improved the postal service in Palermo, Genoa and Milan, and secured funds for the modernization of post offices in Rome, Venice and Milan.
In the early years of the 20th century, he focused on foreign policy. 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.
When World War I broke out, he implemented a policy of neutrality but did not rule out intervention. He became seriously ill in October 1914 and retired.