CHRIS DOBSON
Italian Art, History and Culture

The Lost Towers of Florence

A Vanished Medieval Skyline

Medieval Towers San Gimignano

The Lost Towers of Florence
A Vanished Medieval Skyline

A5 PDF version 59 pages, 30 colour photos
ISBN 0-9541633-7-0

Price €6.55

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Florence was once home to a race of giants.

In the High Middle Ages - long before the Medici came to power - the skyline of Florence was entirely different from the city of today, studded with hundreds of massive towers built by the rival families who plunged Florence into a bloody and pitiless civil war that lasted for generations. Today, it is Bologna and San Gimignano which are known for their huge medieval towers, but only because in those places some towers have survived to their full height, and even then they give us only a faint impression of the extraordinary appearance of medieval Florence.

This eBook tells the astonishing story of these vanished giants: how the towers came to be built, what they were originally like, and why they have almost entirely disappeared. It tells you where to see some of the better-preserved towers, even though they are in a much-reduced state, and once you know the distinctive features of these buildings, you will begin to spot the remains of many more, hidden all over the old centre of the city. It makes a great read for the traveller visiting Florence, but is also written for the ‘armchair traveller’ or history enthusiast reading at home. The second edition is much expanded, and includes new research and photography.

It is the perfect holiday reading to take with you on your trip to Italy.

The medieval towers of San Gimignano give us just a glimpse of what Florence was like over 800 years ago.
The 12th century tower of the Mannelli family stands at the south end of the Ponte Vecchio.
Medieval houses in Arezzo have wooden balconies and galleries on their façades which give an idea of the original appearance of the medieval towers in Florence.
The medieval tower of the Alberti family stands at the junction of Via dei Benci and Via Borgo Santa Croce.
Arnolfo di Cambio built the Palazzo Vecchio around a pre-existing tower of the Foraboschi family, using it as the base of the new tower, which is why it is off-centre in the façade.
The Palazzo Spini Feroni, at the head of the Ponte a Santa Trinita, Florence.
Photos from the book, left to right/top to bottom: the Torre Chigi and Torre Rognosa in San Gimignano; the Torre dei Mannelli at the south end of the Ponte Vecchio; medieval houses with wooden galleries in Arezzo; the Torre degli Alberti; the Palazzo Vecchio; the Palazzo Spini Feroni. All © Chris Dobson.
© Chris Dobson 2021. All rights reserved | P.IVA 03799630045