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Up until the mid-20th century, this particular kind of fishing used a system of fixed
                nets  and large  underwater traps,  completely different from usual deep  sea  methods, and

                entailed  the construction of large buildings and functional  work  spaces appropriate to  the
                productive cycle.

                       These included fenced and covered storerooms for the conservation of the nets, boats

                and tools, and areas for the preparation and conservation of tuna in salt or oil (initially using
                wooden barrels and then tin).  Buildings  were also needed  to house all the workers  who

                remained on site during the months of activity (April-June or July-September, depending on
                the passage of tuna along the coast)   and  to provide  essential  services to  the  tuna fishing
                community (taverns, bread ovens, chapels).  The architecture of the different tonnare also
                varied according to the  average volume of production  recorded over  the years and was,

                therefore,  based on the importance of the site and  on  the  strength of  the site’s  profits in

                relation to  its  operational  costs.  Frequent  abundant  catches  in a  tonnara  necessitated  the
                expansion of its structures which had to be defended not only during the active months but

                throughout the year since the tonnara storehouses contained boats and tools as well as barrels

                of processed tuna that were to be sold locally and abroad.
                       Generally speaking,  the  16   and 17   centuries represented  the  golden age  of tuna
                fishing in Sicily  and consequently the heyday of tonnara architecture. However, even if
                there was a significant correspondence between the building of the towers and forts to defend

                the island and the development of facilities for the fishing industry, this did not mean that an
                increase in productivity was determined by copious investments. The use of relevant capital

                made it possible for ever greater numbers of owners and tradesmen to “lower”  increasingly

                elaborate  tuna nets  and traps. But  the reasons for  the success of  any  fishing season  are
                complex and primarily linked to the biological and reproductive cycles and the behaviour and

                migrations of the Mediterranean tuna.
                       At any rate, it should be pointed out that during these centuries this type of fishing

                was of particular interest to bankers, entrepreneurs, aristocrats and merchants because of its
                potential for generating great profits, despite the associated high risks. It is not a coincidence

            8  R. Sarà, Dal mito all’aliscafo. Storie di tonni e di tonnare, Palermo, 1998; Idem, “Splendore decadenza e spegnimento
            delle tonnare siciliane. Una breve rivisitazione millenaria”, in G. Doneddu – A. Fiori (edited by), La pesca in Italia tra
            età moderna e contemporanea. Produzione, mercato, consumo, EDES, Sassari, 2003, pp. 500-506.
            9   R. Lentini, “Favignana nell’800: architetture di un’economia”, in  Lo Stabilimento  Florio di Favignana.  Storia,
            iconografia, architettura, Soprintendenza BB.CC.AA., Trapani, 2008, pp. 15-257.
            10  O. Cancila, Storia dell’industria cit.; M. Gangemi, “La pesca del tonno e del pesce spada tra Calabria e Sicilia in età
            moderna e contemporanea”, in G. Doneddu – M. Gangemi (edited by), La pesca nel Mediterraneo occidentale (secc.
            XVI-XVIII), Puglia Grafica Sud, Bari, 2000, pp. 161-177; N. Calleri, Un’impresa mediterranea di pesca. I Pallavicini e
            le tonnare delle Egadi nei secoli XVII-XIX, Unioncamere Liguria, Genova, 2006, pp. 71-78.

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