Siena’s Torre del Mangia


posted by on History & Culture

The Siena tower of "Mangia" Tuscany

The Siena tower of “Mangia”, photo by Gary Ashley

Siena is one of Italy’s finest and most beautiful medieval cities. There are a whole host of things to do in Siena, but a visit to the spectacular Piazza del Campo should definitely be at the top of your list. It is one of the greatest medieval squares in all of Europe, and functions as the principle square in Siena. As well as the incredible Palazzo Publico, showcasing a fine example of gothic architecture, there is another fascinating building to discover; namely the Torre del Mangia, or to translate: the Tower of the Eater!

This imposing building, which is made entirely of brick, was constructed between the years of 1338 and 1348 and stands at a whopping 88 metres high. As well as being very tall, this building is also undoubtedly elegant and was designed by a couple of Perugia born architects, Muccio and Francesco di Rinaldo. The tower dominates the piazza and was actually built to be the same height as the Duomo di Siena, as a symbol of the church and state having equal amounts of power. So beloved is the architecture of the Torre del Mangia, that there have been several replicas. From Birmingham in the UK to Connecticut in the USA, many architects have taken inspiration from it.

So where did the tower get its unusual name? Well, the first guardian of this bell tower in Siena was a man named Giovanni di Balduccio, who had a tendency to spend all of his money on food from the various taverns in Siena. This man was nicknamed ‘mangiaguadagni’, which translates as someone who eats their earnings! You can rather understand it, what with all the wonderful food that Tuscany has to offer!

If you’re keen on a climb up the Siena tower, then you’re in luck, as it is open to the public. There are a slightly fatigue-inducing 400 steps, but if you can manage it, do it, as the views from the top are simply outstanding. Not only can you see the whole of the city of Siena, but also the stunning surrounding countryside too.

Discover the ‘Tuscan Jewels’ of Siena, Pisa, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano with one of our relaxing private tours. See Siena’s Mangia Tower, Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower and the UNESCO World Heritage town of San Gimignano for yourself, and explore the beautiful surrounding area. There’s even a light lunch and delicious wine tasting session included. If you’re looking for a great way to see the best that Tuscany has to offer, then this is the tour for you!

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