The richness of historical heritage and the complex stratification of sites, combined with the defensive functions and techniques of the fortifications, confer an added value to the cities overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The fortifications and the new harbours of Tripoli, Libya and Alexandria, Egypt are not isolated structures, which just enhance the qualities and visibility of the places where they are built.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, even if the phenomenon of running war had subsided, the watch towers still had an active role in controlling the coasts of Southern Italy. Under the French administration some of them were assigned to customs posts, others continued to report the corsair boats always ready to carry out incursive actions. Merchant ships, fishermen and peasants were still struck by the devastating Turkish-Barbarian cruises, but also by corsairs armed by the British in an eternal struggle against the French.
Sicily’s coasts are studded with fortifications, a few which are still intact and serve as a testimony of the island’s thousand year old history. Their original function of defence and control was closely linked to aspects of formality and strategic positioning in the Mediterranean. For this reason, they once constituted strong holds on the territory and represented important elements of symbolic connotations.