TOWER OF ASTURA
Few people know it, but laying the beach towel on the sand at Torre Astura means softly lying on the same places that were chosen by emperors, noblemen and important people of Rome who on that stretch of beach built their most sumptuous villas which included fishponds for the breeding of murrays, one of Roman’s favourite fish.
At roman times at the mouth of river Astura there was a landing connected to the Via Severiana and in this area many villas were built, one of which was surely Cicerone’s. About this we have certain news in the chronicles of his departure from Rome to escape Antonio. On one of the Roman villas ruins, partially built on a small artificial island (where there was a big fishpond still visible today) the Frangipane family built, around 1200 A.D. a tower with defence walls against the Saracens who run around this area. The fortress was linked to the shore by a brick bridge. It was here that in 1268 the betrayal of the Frangipanes against Corradino of Swabia was consumed (he had asked asylum after the Tagliacozzo battle).
But Corradino was later revenged: Gregorovius narrates that in 1268 Sicilian people, after the Sicilian Vespers, led by the fleet Commander Bernardo from Sarriano, arrived in front of the tower, badly damadged it and stubbed Frangipane’s son to death.
After these events the tower passed under the ownership of the Caetani and Orsini families, until 1496 when it became property of the Colonna family. They restored the tower, strengthend the fortress and gave the current dimensions to the entire structure including the penthagonal tower.
in 1594 Torre Astura’s Castle was sold to the Apostolic Chamber, was included in the Latium coastal towers and the structure was reinforced with defence walls against the new weapon: artillery.
in the 1700s the internal spaces were adapted to turn it into a dwelling.
in 1831 Torre Astura changed once again ownership and became property of the Borghese family which then gave it to the State and in the second half of the last century was bought by Nettuno’s municipality.
Various traces of this place continue to exist in the writings of travellers and poets.
Gregorovius has written twelve pages in his “Walks through Italy” praising the place (at the time wild) and dedicating a lot of space to Corradino’s story for which he urges German people to worship this place as one of the Swabian epic places.