Torre dello Ziro tower was built in 1480 by the Duke of Amalfi, Antonio Piccolomini, during a time of plaguing attacks by the Saracens. Constructed along with a fortress to provide protection and advance warning, the round stone lookout enjoys splendid views of the Gulf of Salerno and the villages scattered around the hills and on the seafront.
It is said that the Duchess of Amalfi, Giovanni d'Aragon, was locked up in the tower with her two sons and eventually murdered here for her scandalous affair with the butler. Some say they can hear her crying as they pass the appealing ruins.
To reach the Torre dello Ziro, you have to go for a walk. Start in the village of Pontone, below Scala and follow the signs toward Atrani down the staircases and pathways. You'll then find signs directing you to the Torre. Along the way you'll get to see the splendid Villa Cimbrone in Ravello and other lovely scenes. The tower itself is basks in the sun, despite its dark legendary past, overlooking the sapphire waters and pastel colors of Atrani and Amalfi below.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.