"la Ghirlandina" Ghirlandina Tower Tip by MM212
Ghirlandina Tower, Modena: 4 reviews and 8 photos
Originally named Torre di San Geminiano, after the patron saint of Modena whose relics are within the cathedral, this 86-metre bell tower was begun in 1179. It was designed and constructed by the group of successive architects known as i maestri campionesi, who took over from the original architect, Lanfranco. Initially, the bell tower was entirely square, consisting of the first five floors with mullioned windows, but in 1319, the octagonal Gothic-style top was added, in part to increase its height to compete with the soaring towers of the archrival Bologna. Two carved white marble cornices crowning the top of the octagonal structure made it look as though it was wearing garlands (ghirlande), hence, some say, the tower came to be known as la Ghirlandina. Although this theory is possible, others believe the name derived from the tower's similarity to la Giralda of Seville. Unfortunately, when I visited Modena in April 2010, the tower was covered in scaffolding while undergoing a major restoration project due to be completed in late 2010. The scaffolding itself was a piece of modern art, designed by Domenico Paladino, but it completely obscured the tower within. Thus, I never really saw la Ghirlandina, but had to contend myself with examining it on a large poster pinned up nearby. A photo of this poster is the main one attached, while the rest show how I actually saw the tower. One day, I hope to return to Modena to see the unveiled Ghirlandina...
Address: Piazza Grande
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