San Gimignano, Italy: Skyscrapers in Tuscany

Skyscrapers in Tuscany
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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.

San Gimignano Tuscany
The towers may be seen from a distance of several kilometers outside the town. 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

The Manhattan of the Middle Ages
This reminds me of something... yeah, San Gimignano is also known as the Manhattan of the Middle Ages.

San Gimignano Twin towers
Not one but two. These twin towers were built by one of the richest families in town to show off.

Tuscany towers
Talking about twin towers with a plane in the background, but we must get over it.
Image by Kevin Armstrong

The well square from the top
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

Aerial shot
View flying over the town thanks to Fanny et Anthony. The new Curon series feature an eerie submerged bell tower in the middle of a lake but, where was Curon filmed?

Piazza della Cisterna
Piazza della Cisterna, so-called after its monumental central cistern. Italian is not so difficult.
Image by Javier Vazquez

Villages in Tuscany
Same square and same cistern on a misty day, surprisingly also without tourists.
Image by Mr.Boombust

Devil's tower
The Devil's tower, showing its scars after more than seven centuries standing up.
Image by Marco Buggio

Museum Tuscany
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
Piazza del Duomo. There's life in Tuscany beyond Florence, Pisa and Siena.
Image by Santa Cruiser

Tuscany vineyards
Panoramic view from afar of the up-and-down hills, filled with vineyards.

Spring Tuscany
Postcard in spring.
Image by Santa Cruiser

Torre Rognosa
The imposing Torre Rognosa, of 167 feet tall (51 meters), is the oldest surviving one.
Image by Stuart Pinfold

Top of the belltower
If you are into gaming, you may have jumped from the top of this tower at some game.
Image by Cnadia

San Gimignano Assassin's Creed
The town was featured in the acclaimed video game Assassin's Creed II, released in 2009.
Image by Borisov


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