Located just nearby the exquisite Palazzo Pubblico, Torre del Mangia is one of the several iconic landmarks of Siena. It represents the statement the old Sienese people understood to make in order to point out the secular power is just as important as the religious one (it’s no coincidence the tower has the approximate same height as the city’s cathedral). Part of the local UNESCO heritage, the tower is definitely one of the stops you want to make while in Siena, in Terzo ci Citta. In time, it has inspired the construction of other similar towers in England, Spain and in the USA.
The tower was built between 1338 and 1348. The project was set up earlier, in 1325, by Francesco di Rinaldo and his brother, Muccio. When it was completed, Torre del Mangia counted as the third tallest tower in Italy. Measuring some 87 meters in height, it parallels the city’s cathedral, both in verticality and architectural merits. The structure has inherited the nickname of the first citizen assigned to strike the hour, a certain Giovanni di Balduccio, back then known for its proclivity for overeating (Mangiaguadagni, meaning Eater, hence the literal translation of the Tower of the Eater).
Its height aside, the tower fetches by the robustness of its walls, each 3 meters thick. The slenderness of the structure overshadows, so to speak, this feature.
The base structure is the one which required the Sienese to invest the most, such that in the early 16th century the works were still in progress. The loggia you can see today, called Cappella di Piazza, was built in 1378, as a replacement of the initial one, constructed in 1352. The sculptures which embellish the columns are the work of Mariano d’Angelo Romanelli and of Bartolomeo di Tomme (executed between 1378 and 1382).
Currently, the loggia is topped by a marble vault dating back to the mid-15th century. It is the work of Antonio Federighi, and it was executed between 1461 and 1468, upon the decision to replace the old wooden ceiling. A work by Il Sodoma, supposedly executed between 1537 and 1539, used to decorate the altar, but the fresco was removed and it can now be seen at the neighboring Civic Museum.
Quite plain, the body of the structure is covered with red brick, perfectly blending in with the chromatic air of Piazza del Campo. The geometric and color monotony of the tower is toned down, however, by the clock visible from the square. This one was added about one decade after the completion of works, in 1360.
The upper part of Torre del Mangia is the most elaborate, adding to the structure that Gothic dash typical of Medieval architecture. It is the work of Agostino di Giovanni, who carved in terracotta and travertine a design by Lippo Memmi. Three bells are located inside the upper part, the largest of all being the so-called Sunto (from Madonna Assunta, Meaning, Mary of the Assumption, to whom the bell is dedicated).
The table below lists all information on the address of Torre del Mangia, opening hours, ticket prices and reservations. Keep in mind that the so-called biglietti cumulativi allow you to visit some or all of the attractions included in the network of tourist objectives administrated by Comune di Siena, including, but depending on your options, Museo Santa Maria della Scala, Museo dell’Opera, Battistero di San Giovanni, Church of Sant’Agostino.
The validity of the tickets varies according to sundry factors (number of objectives included, tourist season, etc.). Opening hours and ticket prices are subject to modification, so you are redirected to the official website of the tower in order to keep posted with the updated information.
The Civic Museum of Siena is the attraction you should visit in order to make an idea about the secular art created over centuries by the Sienese artists.
The Baptistery of Saint John is located close to the Siena Cathedral, its centerpiece consisting of a splendid 14th century baptismal font.
The initial 13th century Romanesque style of the Basilica of San Francesco in Siena made rooms during the 15th century to a Gothic architectural approach