Once upon a time, Bologna resembled a luxuriant forest of towers: there were at least one hundred in the 13th century. One of them belonged to the Prendiparte family, one of the most important dynasties in the city’s medieval history.
The towers were used in various ways: they were houses, fortifications, warehouses, stores and prisons.
Many were demolished – up until the 1900s – so today there are only twenty-four left. The Garisenda and the Asinelli Tower are perhaps the most famous, with the latter being the best-known icon of Bologna internationally.
The Prendiparte Tower – also known as the “Coronata” (“Crowned”) because its outer façade is slightly recessed at some fifty meters, out of sixty of total height – was built in the second half of the 12th century. As often happened at the time, it was used as a prison for some time – its walls indeed are still engraved with the dark thoughts of death-row prisoners from centuries ago.
Luckily, the tower is now far from its sad, former use and has become a bed and breakfast, where you will be happy to stay… and from which you are free to leave, anytime you like.