Vertical beauty: towers of Florence

Vertical beauty: towers of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The ‘skyscrapers’ of the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, high constructions became a form of power for the aristocracy. The feudal nobles and their vanity competed among themselves building ‘skyscrapers’ to demonstrate their authority and wealth – as if they were contemporary multinationals companies. Although the Tuscan Manhattan of the Middle Ages is undoubtedly San Gimignano, Florence is not far behind. This city of modest dimensions has currently 70 fortress-houses which could have had a defensive purpose apart from taking advantage of the housing space once the internal wars ceased.

These medieval buildings became a token of prestige and matter of competition among the wealthiest and most powerful families. Each tower had to exceed the height of their rivals. As a consequence, there were many feeble constructions collapsed due to the delusions of grandeur of each other.

In Florence, in the year 1200, there were around 150 towers between 50 and 70 meters high. However, in the 14th century, the palace took centre stage by becoming the new form of noble residence to the detriment of the towers. The palaces built by the bourgeoisie became increasingly welcoming and spacious, and sometimes the towers were incorporated into the new constructions, some others they were demolished to allow greater breadth.


Belleza vertical: torres de Florencia, los rascacielos de la Edad Media

Aunque la Manhattan toscana de la Edad Media es sin duda San Gimignano, Florencia no se queda atrás. Estas altas construcciones se convirtieron en una forma de ostentación de poder por parte de la nobleza. La vanidad de los nobles feudales que, a la manera de las grandes multinacionales actuales, competían entre ellos por demostrar su poder y riqueza a golpe de «rascacielos».

En Florencia, ciudad de dimensiones modestas pero de ecos eternos, se conservan en la actualidad unas 70 casas-fortaleza que podrían haber tenido además una misión defensiva, aparte de un claro intento de aprovechar el espacio habitacional una vez cesaron las guerras internas en la ciudad.

Los edificios medievales se convirtieron en un símbolo de prestigio y una fuente de disputa entre las familias más ricas y poderosas. Por lo visto, cada torre tenía que superar la altura de la de sus rivales, y no fueron pocos los «derrumbes» debidos a las ansias de protagonismo de unos y otros.

En Florencia, en 1200, había alrededor de 150 torres de entre 50 y 70 metros de altura. Sin embargo, en el siglo XIV, el palacio les robó protagonismo al convertirse en la nueva forma de residencia noble. Estos edificios familiares, construidos por la burguesía, se volvieron cada vez más acogedores y espaciosos, de modo que las torres se incorporaron a los palacios e incluso se demolieron para permitir una mayor amplitud de la estructura.

Author Gravater

Paco Neumann

Paco Neumann is a journalist, photographer, proofreader, flâneur and perpetual amateur currently living in between Florence, Berlin and Tenerife. He´s been a regular contributor to fashion, art, trend and lifestyle magazines and worked for news, advertising and communication agencies

Related Post

Leave a comment

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: