Castiglione del Lago: A Bird’s-Eye View
The openings of the tower’s embrasures (once used for the shooting out of crossbows) had been covered over with wire netting and the birds were frantic: their nests were inside. Animal-loving (or at least “bird-loving”!), passers-by had noted the frantic flutter of wings and called the LIPA (Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli). The Italian bird-protection league had in turn called the local police.
Pino’s stone restoration crew had worked months on Castiglione’s medieval walls and the 13th- c.Torre Sant’Angelo guard tower. Stonemasons Sassa’ and Orazio were taking down the scaffolding, Pino was there to oversee the wrap-up and I went along to see the medieval restoration masterpiece. A police car was at the job site. An angry policewoman marched over to Pino, menacingly accusing him of un crimine.
The crime? “Sequester of birds inside the tower, condemning them to a certain death”. As Pino calmly explained to the vigilessa, his stonemasons had simply followed the directives of the direttore del lavoro when they closed up the embrasures. The tower’s perforations were secluded nesting spots for pigeons and magpies, now desperate to return home. “We’ve tried our best to drive out all the birds,” Pino explained to the police, “scaring them out with petardi (small firecrackers).”
The policewoman heaved an irritated sigh, crossed her arms, tapped her foot, stood firm. Pino had his stonemasons take off the chicken wire to make a last final attempt at eviction of the desperate birds. His workers put in another day on “bird-eviction” but it was impossible to reach into the very back of the embrasures. And according to the work superintendent’s directives, the chicken wire eventually returned to the embrasures: birds are a menace to the stonework, brickwork of Italy’s countless historic monuments. The guard tower of Castiglione del Lago is no longer “for the birds.”
Click here to see the Castiglione del Lago 13th -c fortress
Read about our favorite place to eat in Castiglione del Lago
Read about another good spot
Read about another Lake Trasimeno favorite spot
See Pino’s fine stone restoration here