The Chianca Amara

Adjacent to Cathedral of Vieste it is worth mentioning a rock called "la Chianca Amara", a monument to human ferocity, on which women, old people and children were slaughtered on 18-21 July 1554 by the hordes of the bloodthirsty Turkish pirate Draguth Rais (Draguth, or Torghud, Raiss Bassà, lieutenant of the equally sadly known Khair-ed-Sin, known in the West as Barbarossa commander of the Turkish army of Suleiman known as the Magnificent).

The History of Chianca Amara

According to Vincenzo Giuliani, a man of letters from Vieste of the 700th century, the corsair Draguth Rais, "the naked sword of Islam", already a prisoner of D'Oria (commander of the Genoese fleet) and unfortunately by him, through the intercession of his wife Peretta Usodimare, freed, among 18-21 July 1554 with his 70 galleys he landed in Vieste, during a village festival, where the massacre of la Chianca took place.
Draguth Rais does not arrive for a targeted expedition, it happens by chance on that July 18th 1554, pushed by a violent storm.
He who never left anything unturned, does not hesitate to use terrible systems to assert his authority.
Once the 70 galleys were anchored at the rock of S. Eugenia and at the tip of the Corno, he had nine hundred and seventy cannon shots fired against the city walls and against the Castle of Vieste.
The surprised and terrified population takes refuge in the Cathedral and in the Castle and the Governor immediately sends the news to the provincial authorities. However, these operate very slowly. Only Nicolantonio Dentice, lord of Monte S. Angelo, rushes with a handful of men who are at his service but is mortally wounded.
Tradition has it that the city was besieged and fell only for the treachery of a certain canon Nerbis.
Once the walls have been torn down, the pirates set about looting houses, killing and kidnapping people with unheard-of brutality, especially in the place of Chianca Amara, where, as tradition dictates, the disabled, the elderly, women, children and priests are slaughtered , very many able-bodied men and young women are dragged onto ships with violence to be taken into slavery or become an object of trade.
Later Nerbis was,

  giving an example of the prizes due to the felons of the country, to the impaled Turkish use.



(Giuliani V.-Ecclesiastical political historical memoirs of the city of Vieste pag. 145- Naples 1768 – reprint Saluzzo 1873)

But even fierce pirates aren't immortal, and Draguth met his fate in Malta, where on 25 June 1565, during a siege, he was skewered to death by a large sliver of rock that had been fired from a cannon and ricocheted off. him like a bullet. To deal with similar raids, in 1566 they were built along the Gargano coast defense towers.

Some scholars, in more recent times, partially resize the story and above all the count of victims, 7000 according to Giuliani.

Them Turks! Them Turks!



This is how the tower towers of the Adriatic shouted when they sighted the pirate ships on the horizon), all with a square base, which still today crown the crystal clear sea of ​​Vieste.

The fearful memory perpetuated in sayings and songs remains in the people. The lullabies that rocked the children of our people say among other things:


All Saints j I want to call
but Sant'Michele is above all.
Sant'Michele ca si closed putente
pound my ninno from the Turks…
And from there Turks and from there evil people
libra my ninno ca jè nnucente!


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