The Torre San Niccolò: a long-standing tower, but brand-new!
As Mayor Renzi promised the Torre San Niccolò has been opened to the public the last 24th of June, gift given by Palazzo Vecchio (the town hall) to the Florentines the day of their patron St. John the Baptist. After the restoration, costed 300.000 euros, now the Florence has one more beautiful monument you can visit. St. Nicholas Tower was part of the ancient walls of the town, from here began the circle south, past St. Nicholas Bridge, and it was then the defense point east of the Arno, with the Torre della Zecca (the Mint Tower) on the other side. Tha name comes from the district of St. Nicholas, where it stands. The tower dates back to 1324, and it was one of the latest that was built. Unlike all the other doors of the city, Torre San Niccolò was not lowered in the 16th century, because the hill of San Miniato offered a natural protection from the blows of the artillery. Actually all the other doors and towers of the walls were lowered, or “beheaded”, as we say in Florence. It is therefore the only door that remains at its original Florentine height, even though the merlons are not the original ones, because they were re-done in the 19th century. The tower has 3 levels, every level corresponds to a big arch, where the soldiers on a guard used to stay. On the first arch there is a fresco painting of the Virgin Mary with the Child, St. John the Baptist and St. Nicholas (both patrons of Florence and the district).
From July 1st til October 1st there will be guided tours of the tower, organized by the city of Florence. The ticket costs 3 euros and can be obtained directly from the tower. Tours will start from 4pm to 8pm, running every 30 minutes both in Italian and English.
You will see one of the brand new and marvellous views of Florence. Just one counter-indication: there is no lift, just the steps, the tower and your feet to get to the top!
Get more information about the Oltrarno Tour!