To those who travel through Puglia from the Gargano down to Capo di Leuca and from here to the Bradano, it impossible not to appreciate the variety of the coastal landscape that is characterized, from north to south, by the almost constant presence of fortifications. In particular, this presence becomes more concentrated and more perceptible in Terra d’Otranto, where the coastal cities are reduced to only the fortified strongholds –Brindisi, Otranto, Gallipoli and Taranto– while the landscape is characterized by the persistence of traces of over 80 towers. However, they cannot all be traced back to the same age and present themselves with different dimensions, materials and construction techniques. These differences are attributable to not only factors concerning when they were constructed, but above all related to the coastal orography where they are located as well as to the availability and ease of finding materials. In Terra d’Otranto there are five different types: a polygonal plan; “A priest’s hat”, circular towers, some of which are known as “towers of the Otranto series”, quadrangular-based towers with monumental stairs identified as towers of the “Nardò series” and, the most numerous, quadrangular-based towers noted as “typical of the Kingdom” towers. The latter, in particular, are recognizable by the formal and constructive styles adopted not only in the census towers in Terra d’Otranto and/or in the rest of Puglia, but on all the Mediterranean coasts affected by the general fortification plan ordered by Carlo V implemented by the Viceroy Don Parafan de Ribera, Duke of Alcalá.
The proposed study intends to elaborate on the morphological characteristics and the constructive differences of this widely diffused typology and in particular to investigate the peculiarities of the “typical of the Kingdom” towers present along the coasts of Terra d’Otranto, the problems of conservation and use, as well as the relationship with the inland organisms and the role played in defining the landscape.