The lighthouse of Punta Palascìa, also known as Capo d’Otranto is commonly known as the eastern most point of the Italian peninsula; the tip that extends into the Otranto Canal. Already in thePeutingerian table the settlement is reported under the name of Ydrunte. The lighthouse stands not far from where, up to the 19th century, there was a watchtower built during the Middle Ages.
As far as the tower is concerned, there is little information during the seventeenth century, we only know that a certain Antonio da Minervino, a corporal, was attendant to the tower, while from sources dating back to 1725 it is now disused and uninhabitable. Probably the exposure to atmospheric agents, water and the powerful winds that lash the Otranto Canal caused a rapid deterioration, so much so that in 1825 it was brought back to a poor state and now reduced to a ruin. No trace remains of the old tower.
The remains were probably used for the erection of the dry stone walls that characterize the surrounding land- scape. In the reproduction of the Aragonese Map it is recognizable Otranto and the system of coastal towers that extends from Porto Fondo (Porto Bradisco) to the city of Otranto where the tower of Sant’Emiliano, the Pelagia tower (tip Palascia), the Torre dell’Orte, the Serpe lighthouse (to confirm its function as a lighthouse in ancient times).
The Lighthouse of Otranto was designed in 1863, like many Italian lighthouses, due to the lighting program of the coasts and the lighthouse was placed a little lower than the position where the watch tower stood. The commission in charge of choosing the location had opted for the extreme tip of Capo d’Otranto, called Punta Palascìa, the project was drawn up by the engineer Achille Rossi who declined the ministerial model for fourth-order lighthouses sent in April of that year by the Ministry of Public Works.
Sentinel of the Salento Adriatic coast, 32 meters high, it is one of the five lighthouses of the Mediterranean Sea protected by the European Union. The place is also home to the Otranto-Punta Palascìa weather station, o icially recognized by the World Meteorological Organization.