Le torri di San Gimignano
The towers of San Gimignano
San Gimignano’s towers give it a unique character, earning it the title of UNESCO protected site. For the first time these extraordinary structures are documented in detail based on specifically performed surveys. For each tower, the characteristics of the masonry, materials and discontinuity are examined, and the demolitions and reconstructions are identified. Unprecedented and surprising data is provided on the construction techniques, the high quality of the mortars, and the dimensions of the towers, which combine extremely thick walls with very small internal spaces that often have very few openings. The fourteen towers studied thereby provide a general overview, which is set within the context of the urban structure of the city and shows how living requirements changed them over time. The study reveals how the iconic power of the towers, from the second half of the nineteenth century, led to a long season of pervasive restorations that have made San Gimignano an exemplary city of the Middle Ages.