The sentinels of the sea

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torri costiere

They are sighted from above at regular intervals and appear like so many grains of the rosary. Impressive, overlooking the sea, some ruined that seem to emerge from the rocks, other lonely as noble in exile. Are the coastal towers, a legacy of a fortification plan built by Charles V in the sixteenth century to defend the coast of southern Italy from the bloody invasion by Turkish robbers who came from the sea. In fact , the danger came from the sea to avoid shouting ” Mamma … li turchi”.

Most of the coastal watchtowers in Puglia, as well as in the rest of the Kingdom of Naples, dating back to the period when the Ottoman power was a real danger for the West and for the Italian coasts in particular: the beginning of ‘ 600 existing towers throughout the kingdom were about 360, of which over 150 were located along the coast of Puglia. Points, suitably chosen by the royal engineers, were identified taking into account the distance between the towers, the mutual visibility and the possibility of communicating with the smoke, the fire, or acoustically, with the use of bells or horns, or also by means of messengers on horseback.

And even today, like sentinels, mark the journey of those who decide to try their hand within the heel of Italy along the coast, starting from the Gargano to the tip of the Cape of Leuca then going up to Taranto.
In province of Foggia the coastal towers extend throughout the Gargano coast and significant are those erected in the Municipality of San Nicandro Garganico: Calarossa Tower, of which today remains only a few ruins and Torre Mileto, built on a square base, imposing as a few others with the four corners facing the cardinal points, also has five trapdoors and a stone staircase which leads to the first floor.
Going down to Bari, one of the most important is Torre Calderina between Molfetta and Bisceglie, in the middle of a beautiful area in which besides the Mediterranean are housed archaeological sites, ancient villas, trulli, stone walls, caves, blades and pebble beach. In Bari area one of the most suggestive remains one of San Vito which takes its name from the nearby abbey in the territory of Polignano a Mare: our advice is park nearby and enjoy a nice walk up to the tower that seems to emerge from the waters very busy in season by swimmers.
In the province of Brindisi, between the towers we are the best preserved of Torre Guaceto inside the natural park where you can stop to observe migratory and resident birds, and the impressive Torre Santa Sabina on the coast of the town of Carovigno.
Many towers on the Adriatic coast of Salento. Worth a visit and a souvenir photo Torre Specchiolla on the border between the territories of Brindisi and Lecce, Torre Sant’Andrea in Melendugno and towers of Serpe and dell’Orte in Otranto.

From San Foca you can reached Roca Vecchia, already flourishing Messapian town and then working harbor armed fortress of which are preserved the charming ruins. The tower, also in ruins, was built in 1568 and has the typical plant truncated pyramid just as Torre dell’Orso in the homonymous seaside resort. Once in Otranto you head into the place L’Orte. Should stop and continue on foot to visit one of the most picturesque coastlines. First encounter the Torre del Serpe, symbol of Otranto. It is a cylindrical tower which has preserved only a high face, a dazzling white. Later found Masseria dell’Orte and Torre dell’Orte, a pyramid wide and low truncated structure that had to carry the fort function.
Taking up the coast, you head towards Sant’Emiliano Tower where a truncated conical tower overlooking one of the most beautiful stretches of the east coast of Salento. The coast road to Porto Badisco and Santa Cesarea, locations defenses from Torre Minervino, Torre Specchia di Guardia, Torre Santa Cesarea and the impressive Torre Miggiano with a truncated conical structure with bull string course and upper body with trap doors and gunboats.

On the Ionian coast, among Ugento and the marina of Nardà along kilometers and kilometers of beautiful coastline between Torre Sant’Isidoro and Torre Inserraglio it extends the Captain Marsh, a wetland which has been a particularly swampy habitat. Few kilometers and you enter in prehistory. A survey the caves that were the cradle of man there is a sixteenth century giant but now almost reduced a ruin: Uluzzo Tower, known as Porto Selvaggio. The Torre dell’Alto is the other “pole” that delimits Porto Selvaggio. From here the view is vast and beautiful, overlooking an endless sea. In Santa Maria al Bagno you can admire the Torre del Fiume, better known as the “Four Pillars” because the collapsed perimeter walls of an ancient castle, are only left the ruins of the corner towers. Continuing to Gallipoli, before arriving at Torre del Pizzo, you run one of the most interesting naturalistic areas of the province of Lecce. Continuing south you meet Torre Suda, on the coast south of Gallipoli, while in the territory of Ugento is Torre San Giovanni, one of the more fashionable locations of the coast, where the landscape becomes even more impressive thanks to a dense pine forest with specimens Aleppo pine that stretches from the beach. Here, where in ancient times the port was used by the fleet of Hannibal, the sea one can see the well depths of up to 40 meters deep.

Long beaches of sand and clear blue sea characterize the coast to the border with the territory of Taranto, where stands Torre Colimena in the town of Manduria, which with its trap doors and signs of the drawbridge near the scale, stands guard at long stretch of golden beach.
Not to be missed is the spectacular sunset on this stretch of coast, with the sun seems to bathe in the sea and then disappear in it. Of course the list is incomplete and only wants to be an invitation to discover the stars of sighting of the Saracen enemy, which today still watch on the beautiful coast of Puglia.

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