Lift your eyes as you walk in the historic centre of Florence, and chances are you’ll spot a tower, a remnant of the history of this city.

For instance, in the Piazza Elisabetta, not very far from the Duomo, you’ll find this exceptional example, the Torre della Pagliazza (Tower of the Straw Mattresses). It is the only round tower you’ll see in Florence.

Some sources put its origin in the 6th or 7th century, as part of the defense fortifications of the city. What is known with more certainty is that in the 1200s, it was used as a female prison. The straw mattresses the inmates used gave the tower its name. (Paglia means straw.)

The tower rests on Roman ruins, and archaeological discoveries of the excavations made during the restoration of the tower can be viewed in a small museum, which I certainly intend to visit.

Today, this tower is part of the Hotel Brunelleschi.






Filed under Florence

29 responses to “Towers

  1. Tess

    Looks like you’re having a blast Yvonne! Can’t wait to hear all about it on your next trip to the nail salon back in Aus!


  2. It’s amazing to think that this tower dates from the 6th century, and even more so when you say that it has Roman foundations. I love how it has been incorporated into the modern building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, more power to those who worked it into the modern surroundings so sympathetically.

      I just came from looking at the Roman theatre under the Palazzo Vecchio. The museum guard said the Romans were in this (Florentine) territory at the time of Julius Caesar. So, that’s over 2000 years ago.


  3. I wonder why they made it round? Obviously designed by some cutting edge architect. Bet he had trouble getting council approval.
    Love it, Yvonne. If I make it back to Florence, I’ll put it on the list. I’m rather partial to towers (sadly lacking in Australia when you think about it).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the things you tell us. i am astonished that Florence has only one round tower… but I haven’t been there since the 1970s (sigh).


    • It’s time to get back, Hilary.

      I understand the roundness had been pretty much hidden by other buildings, and was uncovered when it was developed as part of the hotel.


  5. Yvonne, do you think the hotel is still using straw mattresses? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is a beautiful tower Y, and such interesting history. I like seeing evidence of some former windows. I always wonder what the doorways and windows looked like on a facade before they were bricked up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They did a good job on the restoration/renovation, didn’t they?

      Today is the Festa della Donna, and some museums are giving free entry to women. I’m going to join the queue to go into the Palazzo Vecchio and see the Roman theatre they’ve found below the Palazzo. Layers of history, eh?


  7. Florence is so beautiful. I would love to spend more time there. Enjoy!!!


  8. Great photo with nice historical info.


  9. Wonderful perspectives on these photos. Ahhh Italia. I want to jet right over.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Do you know anyone named Rapunzel with really long hair? She could invite you in.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane

    Oh I love this tower! Each time I see it I wish I had an excuse to go inside and explore all the rooms…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I visited Florence once but I don’t remember the tower. I do remember that just about every structure in the city was amazing. I’d love to go back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OI! You’ve changed your photo!! (As though you don’t know that.)

      Yes, it surely is an interesting city to visit. Darn Europe, it’s got all the old stuff. We in your country and mine have to do with the new stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I am enjoying this tour. It reminds me of John Ruskin’s ‘The Stones of Venice’


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