Born in Palermo, Giuseppe Lanza, Duke of Camastra ( Palermo , 1630 – 1708 ), was a magistrate and representative of the Royal Spanish government, especially known for his work in the reconstruction of Catania and the South-Eastern part of Sicily. Lanza dedicated himself to a military career and in 1672 was named captain of justice of Palermo: four years later he was appointed vicar general for the cities of Syracuse, Augusta and Terranova. Promoted to sergeant general in 1679, Lanza he was appointed magistrate of Palermo.
In 1693 the Viceroy Juan Francisco Pacheco Duke of Uzeda appointed Lanza as vicar general for the Val Demone and subsequently for the Val di Noto, in order to cope with the dramatic situation presented by the earthquake that destroyed most of the cities of the Southern-East region of Sicily. The experience gained in the field of urban and military engineering and his collaborations with Carlos de Grunenbergh -who wrote many of the reconstruction plans-, the general commissioner Giuseppe Asmundo and the Jesuit architect Angelo Italia, made the Duke of Camastra a key player in the development of the Sicilian Baroque of the Val di Noto and the reconstruction of many of the cities devastated by the earthquake.
Military training made him a character used to command, discipline, honesty (his financial statements are of exemplary clarity), and goodwill. At his intuition (with the collaboration of De Grunenbergh) the new urbanistic design for Catania was set to include that the new roads would be constructed in a straight line, wide and spacious, intersected by other with similar features. The streets and squares of the baroque city of Catania are still living testimony.
In 1703 Lanza was elected magistrate (mayor) of Palermo.