The Guinigi Tower, queen of Lucca
Lucca’s Guinigi Tower is crowned by seven holm oaks, proof of its regal status within the Comune. It is named after the powerful family of merchants and bankers that had it built in the 15th century, as a symbol of municipal rebirth and an emblem of its strength.
Its leafy top, blowing in the wind, is a striking vision. In the Middle Ages Lucca was crowded with about two hundred and fifty towers, which were all torn down or lopped within a few centuries. This tree-lined tower was the only exception, and still stands with its magnificent garden.
The Guinigi family’s wishes came true in a way, as every year the warm season brings around a natural rebirth.
Fernando Pessoa wrote, “It is not in vast fields or great gardens that I see spring coming. It is in the rare trees of a small town square.” In Lucca, the trees overlook the central square that was built on an ancient Roman amphitheater, and face the Apuan Alps and Apennines.
The tower is almost 45-meters-tall; to reach the top you must climb 225 steps and a few small metal ramps. But it will be well worth the effort. After all, as Tagore said, “Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.”