The Colimena Tower: the history and sea of Salento
The Colimena Tower, in the municipality of Manduria (Taranto), is one of the hundreds of watchtowers that dot the entire region of Apulia, from Gargano to Salento.
These buildings bear testimony to centuries of dramatic history lived by the people who inhabited Southern Italy’s coast, where the sea determined both life and death.
Death could be brought not only by the perils of life at sea, but also by the attacks of pirates coming from Eastern Europe. After one particularly famous episode – the Otranto massacre by the Turks, in 1480 – and especially for the two centuries after Charles V (1516-1556) came to power, the obsolete defense watchtower system was renovated and strengthened to face the innovation of firearms.
The Colimena Tower was built in the 16th century, and like all of Salento’s coastal towers it could “talk” to two “sisters”, a few kilometers away on each side: at the time of the Ottoman threat, soldiers communicated from tower to tower via light signals.
Despite its past, the wonderful Salento all around has remained a beautiful land of wind, mirages and sweetness.