The tower, built in stone and bricks, is one of the most representative and famous monuments of Lucca; its main feature is the presence of some holm oaks on its top.
In the early fourteenth century, Lucca was proud of the more than 250 towers and numerous bell towers that enriched the city in medieval times, within a circle of walls much narrower than the current one. The Guinigis, now masters of the city, wanted to refine their severe residences with a tree-lined tower, which became a symbol of rebirth, on top of the simulacrum of their lordship.
By the will of the last descendant of the family, the tree-lined tower and the building in via Sant’Andrea passed to the municipality of Lucca.
Among the medieval towers, which belonged to private families, it is the only one that was not cut off or demolished during the 16th century.
The tower, located on the corner between via Sant’Andrea and via delle Chiavi D’Oro, rises to 44.25 meters, distinguishing itself from all the buildings in the historic centre. Reaching the top is allowed by 25 flights of stairs – for a total of 230 steps – quite easy in the first part but not in the last, where you can continue to climb only thanks to small metal ramps. Hanging on the internal walls, it is possible to admire numerous paintings depicting scenes of medieval life. From the top you can admire the city center, Piazza Anfiteatro and the landscape of the surrounding mountains, the Apuan Alps to the north-west, the Apennines to the north-east and Mount Pisano to the south.
The hanging garden
On the top of the tower is the hanging garden, consisting of a walled box filled with earth, in which seven holm oak trees have been planted.
It is not known exactly when the garden was created, but in an image contained in the Chronicles of Giovanni Sercambi (15th century), it can be seen that among the many towers of Lucca there was one crowned with trees. It is therefore assumed that the plant on the Guinigi tower is very ancient, even if the holm oaks present today have certainly been replanted over time