A ROOM IN THE SEA SURROUNDED BY TETRAPODS
There’s a room hidden in the middle of the sea. It’s a concrete cuboid shielded by tetrapods, with iron gangways, sheltered walkways, turrets, and the sky for a roof. It’s sheltered, but open; it’s the lightkeeper’s refuge, today used for maintenance and check-ups. The lightkeeper is a mythical figure among the professions of the port: they were the person responsible for the safety and orientation of men at sea. Before the advent of modern technologies, at sunset the lightkeeper would light the lanterns and lights of the port to signal from a distance to sailors at sea the entrances, access points, passages, shallows, dangers, and hidden threats presented by the sea, and to guide them safely into the port. Today, reference codes are based on the colour of the lights – red and green – and their intermittence. In nautical charts of the Adriatic and in the Italian Navy’s list of lighthouses and lanterns, this is how the port of Ancona is identified: 118 metres above sea level, 25 miles luminous range, 4 consecutive flashes and 30 seconds of eclipse. Repeating all night, every night, every day.
Text: Cristiana Colli