Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Towers of Florence

In the 12th century, the time between the Roman period and the Renaissance, there was much “feudal fighting” within the cities. Important families created fortresses, and each had a tower from which to keep a lookout for a neighbor or enemy in this time of feuding. The towers were austere buildings with narrow slit windows rising with the density of a modern high-rise in cities today. The feudal towers were also as symbolic as they were functional. The taller the tower, the more important the family. (Very phallic, don’t you think? My tower’s bigger than yours!)

At the time, there were at least 90 of them in the center of Florence, but today only a few remain. The remaining ones had to be lowered to the height of the palaces at the end of the 13th century. During the time that the towers were intact, sometimes they were lowered to indicate the diminishing status of a family.

Cindy and Greg stayed in the Hotel Torre Guelfa, which translated means the Tower of the Guelfa. This hotel had one of the towers and we visited it one evening. There were beautiful views of the city here, as you can see.

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