The Torre delle Cannelle is a coastal tower located in Monte Argentario, in a position overlooking the sea along the south-western shore of the Argentario promontory, reachable from the coastal scenic road.
Built on the project of architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini during the Renaissance period, more precisely during the fifteenth century, the tower was built as a place for sighting and active and passive defense along the southern coastal stretch of the Republic of Siena.
The coastal defensive structure was further strengthened by the Spaniards in the second half of the sixteenth century, with the aim of making it one of the impregnable points within the coastal defensive system of the State of the Presidios, given the precedent of a pirate raid that had as its objective this tower in 1514.
The tower carried out its military functions, with tasks of defense and sighting, until the end of the nineteenth century, after having become temporarily a Napoleonic garrison at the beginning of that century, and subsequently passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under whose administration some pre-existing structures were improved. The decision to definitively decommission took place when the Unification of Italy had already been reached and the defensive system was reorganized along the coast of the Argentario promontory. Later, the tower was sold to private individuals.
The Tower of the Cannelle presents a hexagonal plan (the only Tuscan coastal tower with this plan), arranged on three levels, resting on a mighty and high base with a cordoned shoe.
The masonry structures, which in some points exceed the thickness of 3 meters, are externally predominantly dull. The upper part has a stretch crowned with blind arches and shelves on which the protective wall of the summit terrace is supported. The basement that has been created inside the turriforme building, in the space enclosed by the shoe basement, is relatively recent.
The tower is almost entirely surrounded by a large irregular polygonal fortress, bordered by high and thick curtain walls, on whose side facing the ground there is an annexed building that originally housed the garrison’s lodgings. The construction of the fort, which has two basalts on the side facing the ground, dates back to the reinforcement measures carried out by the Spaniards in the second half of the sixteenth century; later, the built-in building, on the other hand, was found for the first time around the middle of the nineteenth century.