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Torre Santa Susanna

Description

A small centre in the heart of the Salento Peninsula. Torre Santa Susanna has certainly antique origins. The area was inhabited by the Messapi (an Italic population), that edified here a "Turris Massapiorum" (observation tower). In the XIII century the presence of this Tower and the devotion of the local inhabitants towards Santa Susanna, a Christian martyr, gave the name to the town. The Saint was beheaded by the Roman Emperor Diocleziano for her refusal to loose her Christianity and marry the Emperor's adoptive son, Massimiliano Galerio.

After being destroyed by Manfredi, new fortified towers were built on the ruins of the antique ones and the first parish church Santa Susanna Vecchia was edified. This church, subject to damage over the centuries, was demolished and rebuilt in 1900.

One of the major sites of interest from an architectural point of view is the Castle, built in XVI century, the construction proposes the features of a large mansion but has all the elements of a massive stronghold.

The Mother Church was built in the XIV century, a superb monument entitled at first to Santa Maria Annunziata and later to San Nicola. The church proposes a one nave and two aisles plan with a truss roof and wooden box shape paneled ceiling.

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Galaso was built to preserve in its interior a Basilan monk's fresco paint of the Madonna and Baby Christ, which had been found, at the time, in a cavern nearby. This image, taken from its original setting is now the major piece of the main altar.

Emblem of the city is the Column of Santa Susanna, located at the centre of the old city and built in 1837 on the ruins of an antique Anjou tower (previously built in 1281 , partially destroyed by the earthquakes of 1627 and 1743 and finally demolished as considered dangerous.)

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