The Porticello tower and the Tufara bay quarry

Located along a rocky coast between the bays of Moline e Scialmarino, a few kilometers north of Vieste, the Porticello Tower is a fascinating example of late sixteenth-century coastal defensive architecture. This structure was part of a large system of nearly 400 watchtowers, of which 25 in Capitanata, almost all in visual connection with each other.


The construction of towers along much of the coast of the kingdom of Naples was established
in 1563 by the viceroy Don Pedro Afán de Ribera. The need for such an extensive defensive system was dictated by the intensification of Saracen pirate incursions, including that of the Dragut Rais in Vieste, which in 1554 cost the lives of a large part of the population of the Gargano city.
The communication system was simple but effective: smoke signals during the day and fire signals at night allowed messages to be rapidly transmitted to the other towers until the castle, mobilizing the defenses in a very short time.


This quadrangular tower, approximately 12 meters high, has two floors: the ground floor served as a warehouse, while the upper floor housed the accommodation. With walls two meters thick, the structure guaranteed safety and a wide view for spotting enemy ships.


This tower is identified as "Torre della Tufara" on the map of the captaincy of
Willem Blaeu in 1630, due to the presence in the area of ​​ancient calcarenite quarries, a material that the locals incorrectly called tuff.


The characteristics of the calcarenite of this stretch of coast, more malleable than that found between Vieste and Mattinata, they facilitated the cutting operation of the lithic material which was used for many centuries for the buildings of the historic center of Vieste, including the Romanesque cathedral. The cutting of the rocks has revealed fossil remains which make the visit to these quarries even more interesting.

Tower, recently acquired by the Municipality of Vieste, it was privately owned for many years. Unlike others towers of the Gargano, is in good condition and retains most of its original features.
Nearbyanze, the presence of an ancient trebuchet and a Mediterranean scrub garden, native plants such as Salicornia and naturalized ones such as the Prickly Pear, enrich the landscape.


The landscape is suggestive, the jagged cliff, shaped by the age-old action of the waves and northerly winds, offers a breathtaking panorama, ideal for relaxing walks in every season.

 

 

How to get to the Porticello Tower

To get to the Porticello tower, the suggestion is to get to the first stretch of the Scialmarino bay by deviating from the SP52, and then continue on foot along the easy paths along the coast.

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