Exclusively for the guests of the hotel, a sneak peek inside one of the few original, intact fortress-houses of Florence.

Let’s imagine Florence back in the age of Dante: the city was experiencing a fast development, growing up to 100.000 inhabitants in a short period, twice the population of London at the time. Its narrow and noisy streets were crawling with busy people, merchants, apothecaries and peasants selling their harvest. Let’s imagine being back in the 13th century, finding yourself in the middle of the Oltrarno District and lifting your head. You would be surprised by an unexpected skyline of high towers all around you, making the small streets even darker and narrower, as a sort of medieval New York or Tokyo.

These towers, built between the XI and XIII century, can be considered the soul of the Medieval Florence, suggesting much about the past society, where the richest families would compete with each other to build ever-higher towers as a symbol of their wealth and power. Indeed, some were raised to such heights that they even collapsed. And, when in the 13th century, Florence became a Republic, the government decreed that all private towers must be curtailed to the same height, in order to promote peace and equality between the warring clans.

Today you can still see some of these stone towers, or their remains, dotted across the city. For example at Bardi Tower, the former home of a prominent merchant family, the old stone arch of the original tower is still visible around the current doorway, or Barbadory Tower the tallest tower still existing.

Guests staying at Belmond Villa San Michele can enjoy a fascinating private tour with the expert guide Susanna Mantovani, who will lead them through the discovery of the Medieval Florence and a sneak peek inside one of the original, intact fortress-houses, as well as an exclusive tour led by the landlord, a famous antique dealer, who will reveal its secrets, hidden recesses and almost invisible breaches in the walls from where the ancient family could reach their neighbours through a stone bridge, in case of assault.

From the top, magnificent views over the city are to be savoured.

Don’t miss the chance to visit one of the traces of this almost vanished skyline!


Notes to Editors

For more information please contact:

Clio Cicuto
PR Belmond Villa San Michele
T +39.055.5678200

For high-res images: www.belmondpress.it and www.belmond.com/media-centre

About Belmond Ltd.
Belmond Ltd is a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. Established almost 40 years ago with the acquisition of Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Company owns and operates 46 unique and distinctive hotel, rail and river cruise experiences in many of the world’s most celebrated destinations. From city landmarks to intimate resorts, the collection includes Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg; Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro; Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya; and Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara. Belmond also encompasses safaris, six luxury tourist trains including the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, three river cruises and ‘21’, one of New York’s most storied restaurants. belmond.com

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