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The Sassi of Rocca Malatina and the rondonaia tower, Modena

DJI Mavic Pro 2  Hassemblad

The swift (Apus Apus) is a bird with a strong tendency to nest in colonies, even very numerous ones, and has the particular habit of carrying out festive carousels made up, at times, of hundreds of specimens. Not to be confused with the swallow, of which it is not even a relative, the swift stands out for its significantly larger dimensions, for its longer, narrower and more rigid wings, typically falcate and for its smoky black plumage with a white spot on the chin. It is a real flying machine: it only lands for nesting and never on the ground, because then it would not be able to take off. A long-range migratory species, it reaches the reproductive sites at the beginning of April and immediately begins to frequent the cavities, where however it will only lay at the beginning of May in the nest reused for several years (even 20), made up of plant material mixed with saliva. The nestlings are cared for for 40 days due to the need to reach the complete ability to fly when they leave the nest, which is not surprisingly located in an elevated position: in fact, due to their very short legs, the swifts are difficult to fly once they have landed on the ground. But what meat! Those who have tasted them remember them as a delight. The nestlings, those now ready to fledge, which were taken from the nests around the beginning of July, ended up in the pan. A barbaric custom in every sense, it seems that the Lombards introduced it, indisputably brutal and today absolutely forbidden. However, it is very understandable from the perspective of a poor economy, where animal proteins, especially if produced without human effort, were extremely precious. Throughout the Tuscan – Emilian – Romagna Apennines, with irregular distribution and concentrated in a few points, there are rondonaie towers. They were mainly used to make swifts nest, but the hospitality granted by man was of interest: the nestlings ended up in the pan. But even in rural homes on the upper floors, usually in the attic which was almost always used as a warehouse or emergency shelter, numerous holes were prepared for the purpose of feeding the nesting of swifts. The openings are small circular holes that lead, through terracotta pipes, into a compartment.


The holes are of a size calculated to let the swifts in, hindering the entry of other birds such as predators which, being larger, cannot pass, or small birds which struggle to pass through the pipe. They thus reproduce the conditions in which the swift nests in nature. Narrow and deep cracks in the rock walls. The nesting compartment is always accessible from inside the tower or attic via a removable wooden door. It was from this hole that at the end of July, when the nestling had reached adult size, the rapacious hand of man penetrated to capture it. There are those who maintain that the practice dates back to the Middle Ages, those to the Renaissance and those who maintain that the concept is much older. Perhaps Lombard or earlier, perhaps it arrived in Italy around the year one thousand from the East, where already in the 9th century it was customary to hang wooden boxes along the walls of the tallest buildings to attract swifts. I agree that proteins were at no cost but with a swift you eat little, however in the larger swiftlets it was possible to have dozens of nests in close rows. In colonies of this size, considering that a swift raises two or three young, it was easy to obtain a considerable number of “preys”. But how could the swift accept such malevolent help from man every year? Apparently there wasn’t a minimum of foresight, the owners of the swifts took everything, down to the last little one. Why did the swifts always come back and the population didn’t die out? Probably because the doors were only opened at the last moment before fledging, when the chicks were as big as possible and some of them managed to escape. Some swallows still exist but the swallows no longer end up in the pan and not just because the law prohibits it. Many owners dedicate loving care to their swallows, keeping them in perfect order. Swifts don’t litter, they don’t disturb, on the contrary they keep you company.

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Turri ( Torre Cannai ) , Sant’Antioco , Sardegna

In the southern part of the island of Sant’Antioco in the “Turri” area, there is a watchtower which was built under the government of Count Lorenzo Bogino.

In fact, he reorganized the administration of the coastal towers built under the Spanish domination of King Philip II. Already some time before, the citizens of Iglesias, interested in cultivating land on the island of Sant’Antioco, had made a plea to the king of Sardinia, in which they offered their help for the construction of towers on the island.

For this reason, Carlo Emanuele III gave orders to the viceroy Cacherano of Bricherasio to prepare the construction of the two towers already planned on the island. In 1757 the tower designed by the military engineer Vallin was built; it stands on the “su moru” cape, the southern promontory of the island of Sant’Antioco, today called “Turri”.

Turkish flotillas used to anchor in this stretch of sea until the first decades of the nineteenth century. The Tower carried out an important work of sighting and communicating news to the military departments responsible for the defense of the island of Sant’Antioco during the French invasion attempt of 1793 and on the occasion of the last two Tunisian incursions of 1812 and 1815 on the island .

The Canai tower remained active until 1815. In recent times the tower has been used as a tourist residence by a private individual who, for this purpose, has “remodelled” it in a questionable way. Only in 1994 was it finally returned to collective use by the Italia Nostra association which, after obtaining it under concession, carried out a restoration project in collaboration with the Superintendency of Cultural Heritage of Cagliari and the Ministry of the Environment.

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Sant’Antioco , Sardegna , Cala Raia , isolotti La Vacca , Il Vitello , ed in lontananza Il Toro

Sant’Antioco , Cala Raia , isolotti La Vacca , Il Vitello , ed in lontananza Il Toro .

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The island of Sant’Antioco (in Sardinian isula ‘e Sàntu Antiògu, in Tabarchino uiza de Sant’Antióccu) is located in the extreme south-west of Sardinia and linked to it by a bridge and an artificial isthmus. In Roman times it was known as Insula Plumbaria. Sant’Antioco is the fourth largest island in the territory of the Italian Republic (108.9 km²), immediately after Elba (Sant’Antioco has almost half the surface area of ​​Elba), and before Pantelleria (83 km²); in sixth place we find the “sister” island of Sant’Antioco, the island of San Pietro. The island is largely of volcanic origin; this is ancient volcanism and has now been inactive for at least 15-20 million years. The coast of the island is mainly rocky. In the western part (towards the open sea), the coast is characterized by vertical or very steep cliff-like walls, with interspersed caves and some inlets, with few but large beaches. The eastern coast, which overlooks Sardinia, has a low and sandy coast which, at the point of the isthmus that connects it to Sardinia itself, gradually takes on a lagoon-like appearance. The southern gulf, south of the isthmus, contains very large sandy beaches, bordered by tombolos and dunes. The interior of the island is hilly with limited altitudes, without any significant waterways. Offshore, towards the south, there are some rocky islets that are uninhabited and difficult to access, the largest of which is the island of Toro. Vegetation of the island of Sant’Antioco The main plant formation is the typical low Mediterranean scrub made up of rockrose (Cistus), mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) and juniper (Juniperus). Among the forms of plant life on the island there are also the dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis), the only spontaneous European species, and the Cretan date (Phoenix theophrasti). The island is dotted with areas sheltered by small family-run vegetable gardens and vineyards, especially in the most protected (eastern) part; the most widely cultivated fruit trees are the vine (Vitis vinifera) with different varieties, the fig and the prickly pear.

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We took drone pictures for a Corporate event, in ideal weather, following the Helios boat from the Vieux-Port to the Frioul islands, then on to the Calanques and Riou island (no drone in the Calanques National Park, as it’s strictly forbidden!).
End of the day at the Cercle des Nageurs with a drone photo of the seminar participants!
Equipment used: Drone Mavic 3 Pro + GoPro12 and 5m boom
Nous avons assurer les images drone pour un évènement Corporate, par une météo idéale, en suivant le bateau Hélios du Vieux-Port aux îles du  Frioul, puis vers les Calanques et l’ile de Riou (pas de drone dans le Parc national des Calanques car c’est formellement interdit!).
Fin de journée au Cercle des Nageurs avec photo drone des séminaristes !
Matériel mis en oeuvre :Drone Mavic 3 Pro + GoPro12 et perche 5m