San Gimignano rises on the hills of
, famous for his unmistakable 15 towers,
which are visible from far away. Once there was 72, raised around the
middle of the 12th century by nobles families and riches merchants. Here
The most famous was the public tower of the Palace of the Podestà known as
La Rognosa. By law no private tower could be higher than this one.
The construction of twin-towers, of equal height, was a challenge to the
city laws. Chronicles of the period recount that the powerful families got
around the city regulation by having two towers of equal height built
which, if laid one on top of the other, would have been higher than all
The feud between these two families ended in 1257 with the defeat of the
Salvucci forced to knock down one of the towers and dress in black for ten
years, and, for the males of the family, not to shave.
But the construction of the towers was not for everyone. To be allowed to
build them, one had to possess land and be of the right peerage. The
erection of a tower was, in fact, only allowed to those who, from a noble
family, could boast the ownership of at least one merchant-ship anchored
at the port of Pisa
Proof, among other things, of
how San Gimignano was a typically mercantile city.