Hidden treasures

The Devil’s Tower in San Gimignano: from the Middle Ages to virtual reality

Mysteries & Legends

The Devil’s Tower in San Gimignano: from the Middle Ages to virtual reality

An Italian idiom says that ‘the Devil makes pots, and not lids’. Yet in Tuscany he seems to have had lots of fun even with bridges and towers! Every time some building was built too quickly for normal, and there was no explanation for such speed, the work was attributed to Satan. In San Gimignano, the delightful village of the Towers, where only 14 of the original 72 are still standing, there is one called the Devil's Tower.

It is located in Piazza della Cisterna, shortly after Vicolo dell'Oro and is part of Palazzo Cortesi. Legend has it that when the owner returned from a long journey, he realized that the tower had grown several metres in height, yet nobody could give him a plausible explanation. Not finding anyone responsible, he gave the blame, or rather the merit, to the devil. Another hypothesis sees in the sinister appearance of the tower the explanation of such a nefarious name. In fact, the narrow openings of the last floor as well as the supports to which the balloons were fixed give it an impenetrable look that probably fuelled the story of the devil's fingerprints. It could also have been someone who, to conceal a mystery, raised the tower to hide some secret inside. Besides, in San Gimignano the Templar symbols can be found everywhere, so this explanation isn’t entirely groundless.

Whatever the origin of the name and the mysteries that lie behind its walls, the ancient tower has also intrigued the creators of one of the most famous video games, which even inspired a film: namely 'Assasin Creed', a game set in the Middle Ages where, at one of the various levels, the player needs to climb the Devil's Tower. However, said between us, it is better to go and visit it in person rather than see it on a screen. Take advantage of our Tour of Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni with tasting in Chianti and you will have all the time you wish to walk around the village looking for clues right below the mysterious tower. Have fun!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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