It was a time in the Italic peninsula between the 12th and the 13th century, when some cities began to put up towers of 200 feet tall on average (60 meters), and in some of the bigger urban centres like Bologna, they could have had more than 180. We could think that the reason why they were built could be found in the need for space, as the cities confined inside the walls, had no choice but growing in height.
However, it seems that the construction of these towers had a more hideous explanation: In medieval Italy, intestine struggles to take control over the cities, led mighty families to organize themselves around towers that were used as a stronghold as defence from the next door neighbor. Rivalry between clans often turned quarters into war zones.
We are going to focus on the town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, where its tourism office claims that fourteen have survived out of seventy-two, although most people can only count ten.
It had to be a genuine show for travellers, pilgrims and members of the Holy Inquisition of the Late Middle Age.
Image by Fanny et Anthony
This reminds me of something... yeah, San Gimignano is also known as the Manhattan of the Middle Ages.
Not one but two. These twin towers were built by one of the richest families in town to show off.
Talking about twin towers with a plane in the background, but we must get over it.
Image by Kevin Armstrong
Because each tower also embodied the power of the family, its height had much to do with ostentation, as in modern skyscrapers. Image by Alaskan Dude
View flying over the town thanks to Fanny et Anthony
Piazza della Cisterna, so-called after its monumental central cistern. Italian is not so difficult.
Image by Javier Vazquez
Same square and same cistern in a misty day, surprisingly also without tourists.
Image by Mr.Boombust
The Devil's tower, showing its scars after more than seven centuries standing up.
Image by Marco Buggio
A permanent exhibition of a mock-up of the town in the 14th century helps to get a better idea of how it might look like.
Image by Museo San Gimignano 1300
Piazza del Duomo. There's life in Tuscany beyond Florence, Pisa and Siena.
Image by Santa Cruiser
Panoramic view from afar of the up-and-down hills, filled with vineyards.
Postcard in spring.
Image by Santa Cruiser
The imposing Torre Rognosa, of 167 feet tall (51 meters), is the oldest surviving one.
Image by Stuart Pinfold
If you are into gaming, you may have jumped from the top of this tower at some game.
Image by Cnadia
The town was featured in the acclaimed video game Assassin's Creed II, released in 2009.
Image by Borisov