Belfredelli and Ramaglianti Towers in Oltrarno, Florence:
Medieval towers in Europe are an attraction for tourists, especially when you can climb to the top for a birds eye view of the city. In Florence, many tourists visiting the Oltrarno side can be seen taking pictures of the Torre dei Belfredelli (Belfredelli Tower). On this trip, we have the unique experience of actually staying in the tower.
Torre dei Belfredelli
The Belfredelli Tower at Borgo San Jacopo 9 is said to be one of the best preserved medieval towers in all of Florence. It’s just off the Ponte Vecchio bridge and you can easily recognise the tower from its dense cover of ivy in the lower part.
You will see this property advertised as Two Towers – Ramaglianti and Belfredelli in Booking.com. The tower facing the Belfredelli is the Barbadori tower, built by a prominent merchant family in the 12th century. It’s only when you look at the side of Belfredelli that you’ll see the Ramaglianti Tower resting against it. They are actually two separate buildings.
Modern Apartment with all Facilities
Our studio apartment, on the second floor, is very modern and has all the facilities one needs for a comfortable stay.
The kitchen is equipped with a cooktop, microwave, fridge, dishwasher and washing machine.
The bathroom is a reasonable size and the showers work well.
One thing to be aware of is that although the apartment is advertised as being accessible by lift, there are a few steps to get to the lift and about eight steps to get from the front door up to the apartment.
Who were the Ramagliantis and Belfredellis
The history of these two towers go back to the times of the struggle for power between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor respectively, in the Italian city-states of Central Italy and Northern Italy. The Belfredellis were a Guelph family whereas the Ramagliantis were an important Ghibelline family. During the 12th and 13th centuries, rivalry between these two parties formed a particularly important aspect of the internal politics of medieval Italy. What’s not clear to me is why the two rivals would have towers next to each other.
How the Two Towers Came About
The Ramaglianti tower suffered considerable damage during the Second World War. After 1950 the tower was owned by architect Giovanni Michelucci.
He had his studio in the tower and worked on its restoration. A connection was then opened with the Belfredelli tower. In the stairwell and in the apartment we can see brickwork from the tower. What happened to the ownership of the Belfredelli Tower after the war is the subject of further research into Florence’s rich history, something that requires more time and effort.
For more information about staying at Two Towers – Ramaglianti and Belfredelli, check out Booking.com.