The Bontempi Tower

THE BONTEMPI TOWER

The medieval towers date back to a period, when the country had a residential polycentric structure, with fortified isolated nucleuses within a poor fabric of the city, which is yet poor and rare.
This tower proves instead the historic period and the subsequent urban one, when the village was progressively consolidated and compacted, reaching a remarkable richness and building density. The need was no longer to enclose and protect the individual and powerful feudal families, but the whole country. So the tower becomes part of a defensive integrated and collective system, and controlles an access, which is no more private but urban: it becomes the gate of the town.
The road that leads to the upper part of the country climbs between the two curved walls that form a passage under the open sky, where the tower seems to get stuck, almost rested on the passage that is the most crossed by it.
On the exterior side, where the lateral walls are quite high, it rather forms an avoidable course, which once closed the gate of the tower, was insuperable. On the interior side, the bottleneck has been partly compromised by the demolition of the wall at the left, of which you can observe the rift.
The presence of the dovecot, at the top, is a characteristic of this tower; aired by small square holes, it presents the typical triangular openings that allowed the access of the birds.
After the fourteenth century, the building technique registers an apparent decline, but it consents most light, flexible and economical solutions. In comparison with the medieval towers, which were made up of large square and accurately aligned blocks, this tower was built with stones of different size, that are hardly rough-hewn and drawn near it by using consisting mortar layers that crown the unevenness.
The arch of the gate, next to which the hinges and holes that served for placing the blockage are yet preserved, is made up of simple flat stones, which are arranged in a star-shape way and linked up with abundant mortar, too. In medieval buildings, however, it was obtained by embedding ashlars perfectly shaped: the comparison between this gate and the one of the tower situated in Via Santa Maria (Saint Mary’s Street) is significant for measuring the conversion of building techniques.