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.
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.
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?