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.