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Torre Calderina

During the XVI century in the land of Bari, and mostly in Southern Italy, dominated by the Spanish, a well structured defence system was realized by building up, on the coast, a first sequence of towers, followed in the hinterland by a radial complex of inner towers, farmhouse-towers and fortified manor houses. The need of defence was due to the historical fear of pirate attacks mainly by Turks and Illyrians from the Balkan Peninsula. During the first years of his kingdom, Charles the Fifth emphasized upon the need of building up watching towers along the coasts.

Between the towns of Molfetta and Bisceglie, a protected oasis called Torre Calderina extends. It is a wonderful area characterized by the Mediterranean maquis. Archaeological sites, ancient villas, Trulli and dry-stone walls, sea caves, stone Lamia and cobblestone beaches give Torre Calderina a high environmental, historical and landscape value.

The natural oasis designation has been established by Italian D.P.R.G. n° 1061 on March 23rd 1983, and subsequently one of the Ministerial Decrees dated 8/1/1985, declared a portion of it, covering 350 hectares, a “Natural beauty” and “of significant public interest” subjecting the area to environmental protection according to 431/85 and 1497/39 Laws.

History

The tower takes the name by the builder, Salvatore Calderini and today it is often mistaken with Torre della Cera located on Molfetta – Bisceglie S.S. 16 (built in 1770 on behalf of the nobleman Pietro Gadaleta). Torre Calderina on the other hand, stands on the seashore, in the north of the city and represents a defence building set up in 1569 with the objective of looking out Turkish enemies coming from the sea, in time to arrange defence. It was a part of Naples Kingdom complex guarding-tower system.

Naturalistic aspects

A series of biotypes alternates along the coast from the damp area of Cala Pantano and Ripalta underwater caves in Bisceglie to San Giacomo cove behind Basilica of Madonna Dei Martiri.

In the land of Molfetta the most characteristic spontaneous vegetation is the typical one of the so-called “Murgia costiera” mostly growing up next to dry stone constructions (called “parieti” and “pagghiare”).

Moreover there are so many different birds, divided into resident and migrating species, that the coasts are considered as a protection oasis for migrating birds. In recent years the site has been targeted by irresponsible building phenomenon, firstly as a residential complex, and after as a boat housing and finally as a motel. Only thanks to the ecologists’ intervention the danger of overbuilding has been avoided.