Hidden treasures

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

Mysteries & Legends
Torre_del_Diavolo

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

Latest posts

Tuscany: 'Buco pillonzi', all of Tuscany’s irreverence in a witty expression

Buho_Pillonzi
Figures of speech

People who speak Tuscan dialect are known for aspirating their c’s. But this isn’t the only peculiarity and, as a matter of fact, w...

View

Pistoia: Where does the name of the Ospedale del Ceppo in the city of Pistoia come from?

Ospedale_ceppo
Mysteries & Legends

Ospedale del Ceppo undoubtedly counts among the many masterpieces that the delightful city of Pistoia has to offer. What fascinates tou...

View

Florence: The 'Rificolona': a funny name tracing back to the mischievous spirit of Florence’s people!

Rificolona
Local Traditions

Lanterns are now very fashionable and are used at parties and weddings. Florence, however, has always been ahead of time, so much so th...

View

Florence: In Florence people are known to be a 'short arm'!

Braccio Fiorentino_2
Historical Curiosities

How many times have you heard the expression 'avere il braccino corto' (lit. to be a short arm)? Many I guess. You will also then know ...

View

Top posts

Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music

Guido-d-Arezzo
Big Names

In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...

View

Pistoia: The Kiss of the Christs in Gavinana

Il-bacio-dei-cristi
Local Traditions

It is a very ancient but still popular rite. Two large processions that meet up with a Christ on the cross in front of each one: the he...

View

Siena: Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Piero-Carbonetti
Local Traditions

Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garib...

View

Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens

Kinzika
Local Traditions

It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...

View