The Towers Of Salento

On the Salento coasts there are about 58 towers, located on promontories or on rocky grounds. Some of them still preserve all their magnificence. During the Saracen incursions they were used as sighting towers.

They are landmarks for sailors, they identify places and they make the Marine atmosphere special.

The majority of them have a squared plan with a slightly leaning basis and a structure provided with loopholes and embrasures; some others are cylindrical.

In Lecce Marine there is Torre Specchiolla with a squared basis and a pyramid-shaped trunk. It has 12 embrasures (an opening done in rock projections and galleries to throw stones and boiling liquid on the enemies but also to favour the downflow of waters) “a filo di scarpa” (an inclined terrace, usually built with ground that gives to the wall a progressively enlarged form at the basis). Torre Rinalda is similar to the previous one even if it has a different size; Torre Veneri whose trunk is still pyramid-shaped but unfortunately the above part has fallen down; Torre Chianca that was built in 1569 and has a circular shape and San Cataldo that exists since 1485.

In the area of Medelungo Marine, instead, there is Torre Specchia Ruggeri that was built in 1568, has a squared basis and has no signs of embrasures. On the contrary, Torre San Foca has 12 embrasures, three on each side. Only in 1577 there was added a falconet (a small piece of artillery). Torre Roca Vecchia, today in decay, is similar to the other towers and was built on a rock close to the shore; Torre dell’Orso where are preserved some names of horse-dealers such as Giovanni Maria Corvino, Gennaro Stefano, Pietro Corsano and Giovanni Battista Cortese.

In Otranto there are the following towers: Torre S. Andrea that was rearranged and is now used as the Harbour-Office; Torre Fiumicelli that has always a pyramid-shaped trunk, is by the Alimini beach and its above floor has almost entirely collapsed; Torre del Serpe has a cylindrical shape, even it is slightly in decay, it was the old city lighthouse and is the symbol of Otranto; Torre dell’Orte has been transformed in a farm. Finally, Torre Sant’Emiliano that dominates the bay bearing the same name and has a part that collapsed.

Between Santa Cesarea and Castro there are other towers, for example Torre Minervino with its typical low and round shape and its walls of large thickness, shape that was used for castles has two towers and three embrasures “a filo di scarpa”, on the top there are small fire mouths. Torre di Castro with a squared basis dominates a great area and has big loopholes (a narrow opening, done directly in the tower walls, that became wide towards the inside so that the defender could use arms remaining sheltered) able to fire on the beneath coast. Torre Lupo is located on a hill, it has a cylindric shape and a “torus marcapiano” (horizontal line, sometimes of bricks, on the façade of a house that mark the division between a floor and the other) The nearby Torre di Andriano has almost entirely collapsed.

Towards Leuca there are the following towers: Torre del Sasso is built on a height far from the coast, Torre Palane has two “tore marcapiano” that divide the lower floor from the upper one, and it has an embrasure, four fire mouths and small brackets.

Torre di Naspre was built in 1565, is on a cliff vertically on the sea, has a circular shape and is half destroyed. Torre di Specchia Grande has a circular shape, was built in 1550 but is now deeply rearranged. Torre di Novaglie was built during the reign of Pedro di Toledo and today is a ruin. Torre dell’Ominimorti is a wide and mighty casematte (a construction with openings towards the outside to be able to fire for defence) with a low and round shape. It was built in 1569; a “torus marcapiano” divides it in two parts: on the lower floor there are four big loopholes and on the upper floor there are the Barbetta batteries (platform located on the higher part of the tower to allow stones hurling).

From Leuca to Ugento there are Torre di Marchiello, with a cylindric shape, that is now a ruin; Torre Vado that on the upper floor has many small brackets interrupted by four embrasures that support a wonderful battlement. Torre Pali is located exactly in the middle of the sea; Torre Mozza has a cylindric shape and at the top still has brackets that hold the above floor. Torre S. Giovanni was built in 1565 and was attached by the Turks who tried to destroy it. There are signs of that battle still today.

Along the coast road from Gallipoli to Nardò there are the following towers: Torre Suda has a cylindric shape, a staircase that leads to the upper floor, ornamental brackets, a “torus marcapiano”, an embrasure and a quadrangular construction added during a following period. Torre del Pizzo or del Cotriero is divided in two parts.

Torre S. Giovanni della pedata (kick) has three embrasures on each side and has a cylindric shape. Torre Sabea has a spatule outline mounted on the upper floor of the cylindrical building. Torre dell’Alto Lido has a pyramid shaped trunk and a wonderful staircase that leads to the upper floor. Torre del Fiume called Four Columns, is built where several spring of fresh-water flow. It is a small block-house with towers that are 16 meters high and their plan is pentagonal. They are divided in three floors and by two “tore marcapiano”. Torre S. Caterina has a beautiful staircase and three embrasures on each side. Torre dell’Alto dominates the coast. Torre dell’Uluzzo has partly fallen down. Torre dell’Inserraglio has embrasures and fire mouths.

From Porto Cesareo to San Pietro in Bevagna rise: Torre Sant’Isidoro, Torre Squillace, Torre Porto Cesareo that is now the Customs Office, Torre Chianca, Torre Lapillo, Torre Castiglione, Torre Colimena, Torre Saline where on the first floor there were warehouses to keep salt. It has barrel vaults and hog-backed floor (ideal to drain salt humidity). Torre Baracco is based on a big reef, Torre dei Molini; Torre di San Pietro in Bevagna has a big size and its characteristic four point star shape.

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