The striking monument to the fallen soldiers of Apulia
What it is and where it is
Minervino Murge is home to a somewhat anomalous lighthouse. It is made of large blocks of local hard stone, and unlike its namesakes that stand lookout along the coast, this one is shipless. In fact, the monument stands more than 400 meters above sea level and is not concerned with showing sailors the way, but with keeping alive the memory of souls who sacrificed for their homeland. The lighthouse, 32 meters high and crowned by a lantern with the power of 2 million candles, is now the tallest Lighthouse on Earth in Italy, a living and present reminder of a turbulent piece of Italian history.
Why it is special
There are not many monuments similar to this one. In fact, it is actually the only one of its kind in Italy. What makes it unique is that it was born as an anthem to fascism. It was the young men who had given their lives for the Fascio that were celebrated, and Mussolini himself had shared in the expense of its construction. Of course, the history it recalls through each of its forms, each of its friezes, is a sad memory, but it is part of us, so it is important to keep it alive in our memory.
Not to be missed
Inside the lighthouse, a spiral staircase leads up to just below the lantern, to the top of the lighthouse. There is something very poetic about this light that, designed to celebrate the glory of the Duce, now illuminates the shadows of that historical period and creates a bridge to neighboring towns, caressing them with its beam. Those who do not suffer from vertigo will be able to climb up to the balustrade at the base of the lantern and enjoy a truly thrilling view from above.
A bit of history
During the commemoration of one of Molfetta's fallen soldiers, it occurred to someone that it would be very nice to erect a monument celebrating the sacrifice of all those who had given their lives for the fascio. They liked the idea so much that it was entrusted in 1923 to the pro-fascist architect Forcignano. Mussolini himself donated 10 thousand liras for the realization of the project. The inauguration, also reported in an Istituto Luce film, took place in 1932.
After the war, the lighthouse was maintained and converted to be dedicated to all those who fell for the Fatherland. To do so, some words explicitly related to fascism were removed from the phrases engraved in the stone, thus creating a testimony to the reconciliation between the fascist and democratic regimes.
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