BURANACCIO TOWER

Buranaccio Tower was built in 1563 during the reign of Philip II of Spain, when Captain Blas de Vargas was Governor of the Orbetello Defense and Regent of Porto Ercole. The tower - built by the standard-bearer Nicolò Verducu, according to Juan Thomas de Scala’s design - was a fortified structure featuring a terrace. There, "dos culebrinas de acerca 25 libras de balas cada una" could be placed to defend the southern borders of the State of the Royal Presidi, in Tuscany – especially from Turkish landings.

Buranaccio Tower is one of the first fortresses built by the State of the Royal Presidi. It has a four-sided plan of 13x13 metres and is located over the tombolo (coastal sand dunes); this separates Burano lake from the sea, a few metres away from the east bank of the outlet ditch.

A square-stone string course runs around the entire tower perimeter to embellish its lime and stone masonry. The upper part is typical of coastal Neapolitan-Spanish towers and has 4 trapezoidal machicolations with large downward openings. These openings alternate with sturdy trapezoidal corbels supporting the terrace parapet. The terrace was used as chemin de ronde (patrol path) to spot enemies coming from the sea, the lake or the sand dunes. Machicolations, now protected by iron gratings, were used to drop any injuring objet, such as stones or incendiary balls, on attackers. In the inner corner of the north-western terrace, above the entrance stairway, there was another small building featuring a terrace. On top of it there used to be a brick watchtower, used to spot enemies and as a shelter for watchmen.

The Tower has only one large room with a single entrance, which can only be accessed by a narrow staircase. There is also a step where a drawbridge used to be lowered to let people in. Inside, there are two large trapezoidal arches; these were made out of the south-eastern walls and end with arrow slits. Another narrow staircase, built inside the northern wall, leads to the upper terrace. Here, a hatch on the floor opens above a large rainwater tank built in the basement. Besides being used to provide for soldiers’ needs, it was used in case of long-lasting sieges.

Buranaccio Tower is located inside the Burano Lake WWF Oasis, which belongs to the Terre di Sacra estate. The Tower was also used as a film set for “It’s Happening Tomorrow”, by Daniele Lucchetti, and for “Eros”, shot in 2004 by Michelangelo Antonioni.

Terre di Sacra Strada Litoranea, Burano 17 Capalbio (GR) Tuscany Phone +39 0564 893243 © copyright

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