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The echo of the pirates

Romagna was a land of attacks and lootings: the Adriatic, with its commerce and exchanges was also the setting of wars and lootings which were carried out by Turkish pirates for a long time. The defence of the area was entrusted to the Venetian naval fleet and to the towers built by the Papal State. It is enchanting to notice how, to this day, by merely looking at our towns, the memories of those violent times of unrest surface again, with the sound of the garrison warning of the imminent danger of the pirates, and the breathless dash of the citizens looking for shelter.

 

The light of the maritime routes

For over two and a half centuries, the Rimini lighthouse has guided sailors to the safe harbour of the city: witness of wars, revolutions, destructions and technological progress, this tower has performed various functions over the years, including that of tower-fort, lookout and landing light.
There are different interpretations about its construction: it is said to have been designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli. Work began in September 1733 and in 1754 was completed by G.F. Buonamici, who also built the clock tower in Piazza Cavour. Destroyed during the Second World War, the lighthouse was rebuilt between 1946 and 1947: in its current form, the tower rises 27 meters above sea level.

 

A sea to defend

In the years that saw Romagna as a centre of commerce and flourishing markets, the sea was a thoroughfare to defend by all means. For this reason, many fortifications were built along the coast, among which, the Tower in Bellaria-Igea Marina still stands out today, proud and powerful, by the sea. The three storey building is solid and impressive, but only upon entering it and climbing its spiral staircase can you hear the echoes of the ancient battles, the excitement of those alarming times, and the shouts of unscrupulous looters blending with the cries of people pleading for mercy.

A tower for the salt

Cervia, too, the city of “white gold”, had to defend itself from the raids of the Turks and Saracens. In the town centre, Count Michelangelo Maffei commissioned the construction of the San Michele Tower, which served to defend the city and its most precious treasure, salt. It is a veritable fort, with a rich parade ground on top, a solid stronghold against bandits and looters.

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