Sighting and defense tower against Barbary corsairs
Following an incursion in July 1562 by the Barbary, coming from present-day North Africa, the community of the Prino valley obtained consent from Genoa for the construction of a defensive and sighting system consisting of a tower at San Lorenzo and one in Prarolo, both equipped with artillery.
The Torre di Prarola, built on the Premartello rock, housed six night watchmen with the task of signaling the dangers coming from the sea to the population.
The watchtowers were in visual contact with other high observation points along the coast and inland: in the event of an alarm, the information could travel simply through signals made with fire or smoke.
Saracens and Barbary were the main danger from the sea to the Ligurian coastal populations and the immediate inland. The first ones, coming from the Arabian Peninsula, made several incursions towards the end of the first millennium AD. Villages were fortified against them and watchtowers were built, often recovered and reinforced half a millennium later, given the advent of firearms, to resist the assaults of the Barbary.
A curiosity: although called “pirates” the Barbary were actually “corsairs”: they were in fact equipped with a corsair license which gave them the right to assault ships and countries of the nations with which they were at war. Their work was therefore, under the law of the country of origin, fully legal.
Una curiosità: sebbene chiamati “pirati” i Barbareschi erano in realtà “corsari”: erano infatti muniti di “lettera di corsa” che dava loro il diritto di assalire navi e paesi delle nazioni con cui erano in guerra. La loro opera era dunque, per il diritto del paese d’origine, pienamente legale.
Fonte: Fortificazioni Antibarbaresche in Liguria, Giorgio Fedozzi, Dominici Editore, 1988
Testo a cura di Nicola Ferrarese, immagini di Nicola Ferrarese