The legend of hidden treasure
Torre del Cardo was built around the 16th century and its name comes from the Roman road, called “Cardo”, crossing the town from the north southward. Its peculiarity is the compass shows north on its back and south at its entrance.
Not only, it is characterized by a singular tale. It is said that around mid 1400s the wonderful but rustic area from Taranto Murgia to the extreme part of Salento suffered continuous pillages by a gang called “the gang of 24 robbers” who perpetrated their actions to the prejudice of the rich and noble inhabitants. These robbers’ fame increased when they had a success to the detriment of the very rich Baroness Maria d’Enghien who lived in the Castle of Copertino and, after her husband had died, was the only heir of a very great quantity of money.
They stormed into her house and, after finding the Baroness, the gang got the booty and hid it in a lonely land.
It is said that four centuries later the treasure was recovered by a gang of brigands who lived in this area. They hid it into a “capasa” (= a typical amphora) hidden into the Tower where they had made a spell to protect their wealth.
For many years the Tower has been let slide, even if its fame has increased just for the tale, according to which, the treasure hidden by the brigands was there.
According to the legend, one day, a brave and, at the same time, generous peasant met an old wise man in the countries close to the Tower, who told him the story of the “Tesoro ti lu Cardu”.
The old wise man told the peasant that, in order to find the Treasure, he had to go at the top of the Tower, on Good Friday, carrying a baby in arms and a consecrated lamb. A light would have driven him to the room of the treasure.
The peasant impatiently waited for the fixed day, but he went to the place with no baby and lamb, both because he thought he would have had to immolate the infant and, since it was the night of the Holy Sepulchre, no priest would have been available to bless the animal.
He started going up the stairs, but, after covering a few steps, he realized an unknown strength was catching him violently on his shoulders and, after freeing himself, escaped frightened.
The peasant told everybody that the strength which had surprised him that night belonged to the brigands’ spirit to protect the Tower and its treasure.
Starting from then many people have looked for the treasure, some people say it was found, others still look for it, enraptured by the fairy and wonderful atmosphere of Torre del Cardo, making everything enchanting, where the presence of the brigands’ spirit that, after so many centuries, still safeguards the amphora of the hidden treasure, can be felt.