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The Guinigi Tower is a beautiful landmark of Lucca and is easily recognizable by the garden on the top. A wonderful view of the city and the surrounding mountains is yours to enjoy for the easy climb to the top.
The Guinigi Tower, decorated with coats of arms, was built in Romanesque-Gothic architecture style. What makes this tower so unique is the small garden at its summit. The Guinigi family created this small garden to represent rebirth and renewal. Seven large Holm oaks are planted into three separate flowerbeds.
The Guinigi Tower was built in the second half of the fourteenth century by a rich merchant family – Guinigi. Italians refer to this tower as Torre Guinigi. In the fourteenth century, Lucca was jam-packed with ancient skyscrapers. More than 250 towers once enriched the city in medieval times. Yet today, sadly it is one of nine remaining towers in Lucca.
Guinigi Tower, New Year’s Eve 2021 photo credit: JoAn Ferguson
Restored and reopened in the 1980s, there are 230 steps to reach the top of the tower. They are very easy to climb. The wide cement makes it stable and the stride is easy. Nothing like some towers we’ve climbed like in Bologna! Although, as you approach the top it becomes difficult as only metal ramps of very small size replace the stairs. Also, the height of the tower is 45 meters (148 feet). Most noteworthy – the original stairs were on the outside of the tower!
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Did you know?
A tower’s height reflected the prestige and importance of the family that it belonged to and in fact, families competed to have the tallest tower
Almost all ancient things come with some type of legend. Consequently, this tower is no different. Legend says Paolo Guinigi planted the tallest tree. Franncesco Sforza, an Italian condottiero, captured and imprisoned Paolo. Before his execution, all the leaves fell off the tree. True? Who knows.
From the top, you get a beautiful view of the Apuan Alps (located in the northwest), the Apennine Mountains (north-east), and Mount Pisano (to the southern side). Also easily seen from the top are the Duomo, Piazza Anfiteatro, and Torre delle Ore (clock tower).
The Lucca town council owns the tower today. It was a gift to the government by the descendants of the ancient Guinigi family. It is a must when visiting Lucca. Take the climb – go up and admire the beauty of Lucca from above. Take refuge from the sun under the shade of the now, large Holm oak trees. While there – stop and think about life and rebirth. Obvious issues that were also back in the 13th century as well.
A big thank you and recognition to my friend, JoAn, who has the best view of the city from their apartment! You can find more of her amazing photographs on her blog.