Tower of Barbarossa

The tower, with a quadrangular section, was built in 1140 by will of the Consuls of Pistoia. It represents the only surviving element of the oldest fortress dated to the 12th century, built to control the pass that separated the territory of Pistoia from that one of Lucca. The majestic gate, that today allows access to the fortress, is called “Gate of Castellina“, a medieval village descripted in the 12th century Statutes.

The old fortress was delimited by a surrounding wall and the tower of ‘Barbarossa’ (previously the ‘Lombard tower’) is in the center: we do not know the reasons for this name, since there is any historical mention that connects it with Frederick the ‘Barbarossa’ . It rises for over 40 meters on the highest point of the hill. It allowed soldiers to see the enemies coming from Lucca and the sea and to communicate with the other neighboring towers (Monsummano Alto , Montecatini Alto, Castellina and Vinacciano) through light signals. The entrance door is located 5.20 m above the ground.

The rules about the surveillance of the tower are written in the Statutes of the 12th century and they underline the importance of its function: the custodian responsible for its surveillance was chosen from among Pistoian citizens of rather high wealth and, during the four months of his assignment, he could not leave the tower. The door was in fact barred and no construction could be built in the surrounding space between the Gate of Castellina and the town hall.