Hi Marronaia friends! This week we visited FAI – Torre e Casa Campatelli! A fantastic old tower, typical of San Gimignano, with a magnificent historical house inside!
Of the 72 ancient towers that made SanGimignano famous, only 14 have survived to the present day. Yet, thanks to them, we can still marvel at the unmistakable silhouette of what is the most famous Italian medieval village of all. The remaining towers include the one that belonged to the Campatellis, a family of Florentine entrepreneurs and landowners. They associated their name from the early 19th century with the 28-meter-high tower-house erected in the mid-12th century. Today this is the only tower that has retained the original single volume of the construction, being completely hollow inside.
The family purchased the entire complex and turned it into an Haute bourgeoisie residence that reached us intact, in terms of its appearance and atmosphere, thanks to Lydia Campatelli, who in 2005 left the Torre Casa Campatelli to FAI on the condition that it would be opened up to the public. As a result, the residence is rich in narratives, ranging from the history of the medieval city to the vicissitudes of a wealthy family and offering, in the process, a vivid encapsulation of middle-class life in Tuscany in the period straddling the 19th and 20th centuries, caught between tradition and modernity.
The visitor experience begins with an evocative video projected onto the attic walls that covers the history, identity, and legends of San Gimignano, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then, on the piano nobile, furnished with original pieces that have been complemented with great care, we enter the daily life of the owners of the house: a world suspended in the past, amid photographs, private memories, objets d’art and collections, including Montelupo pottery and paintings by Guido Peyron – a renowned Florentine artist who was also Lidya’s uncle. A visit to the Campatelli Tower-House is a bona fide journey back in time, set against more than 1000 years of history.