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Torre Guinigi – for lofty tower-climbing

  • Torre Guinigi – for lofty tower-climbing

    This is the only surviving tower-house in Lucca, a 14th-century symbol of power and prestige that calls out to be climbed. The wealth of Lucca, like that of Florence, was based on banking and its silk industry. As early as the 12th century, bankers were plying the Mediterranean or travelling north to Bruges, Ant¬werp and London, buying and selling silk and woollen cloth. Successful bankers, such as the Guinigi family, built ostentatious tower-houses, like this 14th-century affair, now considered a city symbol. As in San Gimignano, such fortified homes were both medieval status symbols and retreats in times of trouble. Climb the 45-metre-high tower (230 steps) to admire rural views, and to make out the outline of Lucca’s Roman amphi¬theatre (anfi¬teatro), perfectly framed by medieval townhouses. The style of Torre Guinigi is Romanesque-Gothic, even if Lucca didn’t favour the Gothic style. But here, alongside the Romanesque round-arched arcading, are Gothic mullioned windows.

    Address: Via di Sant’Andrea 45, Lucca
    Web: www.lemuredilucca.it

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