Dominating piazza del Campo, in the heart of Siena, the Mangia Tower stands tall, one of the most famous in Tuscany and, with its 87 metres in height (102 if you include the lightening rod), the third tallest historic tower in Italy.
It’s the civic tower for the Palazzo Pubblico, the city’s town hall, and its height was meant to symbolize the free communes and the liberation from feudal power.
The symbol of Siena was built between 1338 and 1348, constructed in brick with a stone cornice and belfry, boasting a light and elegant structure that takes its name from its first bell ringer. Giovanni di Balduccio was famous because he wasted his money, especially on good food, and was nicknamed Mangiaguadagni, literally Earnings Eater, abbreviated to Mangia: his role didn’t last long because in 1360, the first mechanic clock was installed, but the nickname was forever associated with the tower.
The top part of the tower, built in travertine, is the work of the Sienese sculptor Agostino di Giovanni, on the design by Lippo Memmi. In 1666, after various fusion attempts, a large bell was installed, which the Sienesi called Campanone, also known as Sunto because it was dedicated to the Mary Assunta.