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Shore Towers


All along the southern Italian shores, and especially along the southern Tirrenian Sea, a careful look can see the ancient Watchtowers, strategically located on the more prominent headlands, and always sited so that, also under adverse conditions of visibility, it were always possible to perceive a visive signal sent from the nearest neighbor. 

At the first signs of fire, indeed, the people who lived along the Tirrenian coast, had the opportunity to move immediately to the hills hidden to the sea and save their lives.

In fact, if you look at it, the main inhabited centrrs of the villages of the Campania, Basilicata and Calabria coasts are not located directly on the sea, but they are almost always located in high places and generally hidden to the sea routes.

Under the Angevin Kingdom (Regnum Siciliae citra Pharum, that is the continental southern Italy Kingdom, 1282-1442) the coast were interested by a massive and diffused program of defensive fortification which interested the main and strategical towns of the reign. Furthermore, many watchtowers were build in order to defend the coast, whom characteristics were the circular plant, the hight and the thinness.

During the Spanish viceroy of Naples (1503-1707), Pedro Alvarez de Toledo y Zuniga (1532-1553) strengthened the existing system of coastal Watchtowers as it can still be seen today and as above described. Watchtowers of XVI century were, however, built more solidly and more massive, lower and resistant to the naval artillery but, above all, with a square plan. 

Along the coast of the Tirrenian Basilicata, that is, along the coast of Maratea, there are 6 Watchtowers, all pictured within the slideshow above. From N to S: Torre dei Crivi, Torre di Acquafredda, Torre Apprezzami l’Asino, Torre Santavenere, Torre Filocaio e Torre Càina.

Torre Santavenere and Torre Filocaio are the only ones restored and today inhabited.

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