Designed by Camillo Camiliani and built in 1595, St. John’s Tower is situated in a strategic location on the slopes of Mount Cofano. It was part of the system of watchtowers positioned to defend the coast of Sicily. In the 16th century, on behalf of the Spanish government architects Spannocchi and Camilliani planned a sophisticated circuit of watchtowers along the Sicilian coast as a defense system against pirate attacks. In case of imminent danger, the ‘torrari’ ie tower keepers had to sound the ‘brogna’ (shell) and send smoke and fire signals (‘fani’) from the terrace to alert the other towers and the inhabitants of the hinterland. St. John’s tower was in communication with the towers of the Monte San Giuliano ‘tonnara’ and the one in Bonagia.
Like all ‘Camilliani’ towers, it is square with a strong embankment at the base for containing the cistern and as storage for ammunition. The covering is the form of a barrel vault made with small tuff bricks. By accessing a brick staircase you can reach the terrace and enjoy a breathtaking view.
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