The tower with the trees on top

Photo sourced online

Photo sourced online

Once there was a rich merchant family in Lucca, with the surname of Guinigi. The tower they had built in the 1300s still stands and is accessible for a climb to the top, which is crowned with holm oaks. These evergreens can live for a thousand years, which led me to wonder if these are some planted by that family. I forgot to ask, of course! 

This tower is a bigger challenge to ascend than the campanile in Torcello, let me tell you!


Those holes in the walls would have been part of the original construction and may have supported wooden stairs, or the floors of the various levels.


These days you climb steep metal stairs. Up you go, and stop puffing, we haven’t even started.


Luckily, about half way up, there are windows to look out, so you can pretend to be admiring the view whilst catching your breath.

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Here we are at the top. I was surprised to find there is no barrier between you and the thin air, aside from chest-high railing. This gives you a clear view of the surrounding city and country-side. It must be stunning on a cloud free day.


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Yesterday, I saw this headline in the paper: “Invaded by guano Torre Guinigi at risk of degradation.” I can vouch for the fact that there’s a heck of a lot of guano to be seen and tromped in. Do you think the next step might see the upper level and the openings lower down screened off, in the future?



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50 responses to “The tower with the trees on top

  1. My parent’s (now my brother’s) house has venerable holm oaks; they are multi-stemmed and absolutely GINORMOUS. Each stem is bigger than most trees you ever see. I would be seriously worried about that tower.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susie L

    What a beautiful tower! Thanks for climbing it for us, Y. The last tower I climbed was one of the Due Torri in Bologna, it was terrifying!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bipasha

    Lovely, I was there last summer & absolutely loved Lucca!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love all these! The stairs though, awesome shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had no idea such a tower existed. Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful photographs and history!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A few years ago my cousin and I climbed a lighthouse tower overlooking Lake Michigan. There was a stiff breeze and a very low rail around the parapet. I had to gather my courage with my back to the wall of the tower, while my cousin wandered around, leaning over the railings looking at the view… So those trees…are they in pots or is there soil up there of a depth to support them. This is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for climbing it for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The trees are cool and I think the views were worth the climb – of course I’m saying that without having done the climb.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t notice the problem when I went up there. I hope a good plan will be devised to protect the the dear oaks.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I guess a walker wouldn’t fit up those stairs, so I will have to enjoy vicariously.Thank you so much, Yvonne, for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bert

    When I read this: This tower is a bigger challenge to ascend than the campanile in Torcello, let me tell you! and then saw the photo below it, I thought for a moment that you had to climb up the outside, as it looks like one of those rock-climbing walls that you see in some gyms.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. How clever of the family to put in windows at the exact spot where we need to stop and catch our breath. Even on a cloudy day the view is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great memories for me, Yvonne. This tower was the first I climbed after my left hip was replaced (I did Pisa a day later!!). The surgeons must have done a great job as I got to the top, no problem. Your photos are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A roof garden! The trees have the best view. They are not silly and no climbing of stairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great climb and views. Not sure I’d have the nerve to look at the views, so I’ll settle for your lovely pics, Yvonne.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. What an amazing thing! I do hope the authorities elect to stop the degradation of the building in some manner – it would be a shame to lose those trees!! I think I might feel a bit shaky at the top if there is no wall to keep me feeling secure and from toppling off………

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I stood up there, I did wonder if they’d ever had anyone jump. It would be very easy to do so.


      • Yikes! I was once going up to the top [inside] of the Duomo in Florence when a man in front of me had a sudden attack of the height terrors and fell to his knees with his hands out looking for something to hold onto – not finding anything he scrambled about in a circle and I realised his eyes were closed. He was in a state of complete terror, whimpering and yelping and eventually just lay down in a foetal position, leaving me trapped behind him and unable to do anything to help in that narrow walkway…………… I have often thought how fortunate he was that he didn’t go over the edge as he scrambled about with his eyes shut!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. What a view from the top! My husband loves climbing towers, especially in Italy, and there is an unusual tower on one of the islands near Venice to which there was no access. I think it’s the leaning tower of Burano. Italy is a wonderful place, full of surprises!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m fine going up. It’s the coming down that turns my nerves to mush. What a wonderful near concluding posting to Italy 2015/16!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow. This is awesome. I have never seen trees on the top of some building. Thank You presenting it thru you set of beautiful photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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