Capo Sant’Elia and its towers

The  Capo S.Elia promontory, located in south-east of Cagliari center, in addition to an amazing nature and a absolutely breathtaking view, preserves in its towers a story that reflects the defensive nature of the city since its dawn. The privileged position of the Cape still allows a view that goes from Capo Carbonara to the island of S.Macario, and the remains of the sighting buildings reinforces the role in this stretch of coast, often exposed to attacks by pirate raids. Between 1282 and 1638 six sighting towers were built: the T. of S.Elia, the Turris Muscarum, the T. of Cala Bernat, the T. del Poetto, the T. of Cala Fighera and finally the T. of the Signals. Without artillery apart from the latter, which is also the most recent, we can only visit four o this because the others were destroyed. The defense during the  Judgedom of Cagliari period was “assured” by the Tower Corps whose garrison for each tower consisted of  two men endowed with their own individual weapons: the crossbow, the dart and the arquebus. We wonder what tough selections they had to overcome to assume this role … (extraordinary!). The first tower, the Tower of St. Elia, referable to this period was built by the Pisans in 1282, and for about three centuries, kept the Saracen pirates away. About three centuries later, two other towers were erected with Spanish domain. Thus the Turris Muscarum was erected, in Calamosca, now disappeared, and that of Cala Bernat, identifiable with the tower Perdusemini, located in the former Torpedo Park of the Navy.

The tower of the Poetto referable to 1597, formerly called the tower of the Pouhet of Sante Elias (Pozzetto di Sant’Elia) due to its proximity to the Punic cistern, “sa bucca e su tiaulu” (the mouth of the devil), was used to control the caves underlying that provided a possible landing place for pirate ships, and to better monitor the area of ​​the salt pans. Already in conditions of ruin, it was restored by the Piedmontese on the occasion of the attack by the French in 1792-1793. The tower of Cala Fighera instead no longer exists, but it is assumed to be on the rocky ridge of Murr’e Porcu.
In 1638, the defense of Capo S.Elia was strengthened with the construction of the fortress of Calamosca under Filippo IV and at the end of 1700 had the function of signaling to the Torre of Leone (in Castello’s district ) the type of vessel passing through the Gulf. Even today it is known as Torre of Segnali (Tower of Signals) for this. Later it was transformed into a traffic light station and used until 1974.

An easily walkable path will take you to the top of the promontory without excessive efforts, and and will make you feel for a few moments like the ancient Pisan Tower Corps. Definitely invincible! (LOL).


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