Florence’s September Historic Tower & Gate Visits

The view from the San Niccolò tower

Florence has long been heralded as a city so rich in cultural value that it can be likened to a living, breathing museum. A new project affirms this assertion — the city’s historical defense system, consisting of towers, gates, and fortresses, is now open for tours and visits. 

The network of structures was born a very long time ago, around 1284, under the instruction of the Signoria di Firenze, the council that called the shots in Florence at the time. Over the centuries, subsequent rulers gradually expanded the network of defense as they saw fit.

Participation costs € 6 per person (except Forte Belvedere) and the payment is in cash.  Admission to grounds of the Forte Belvedere is free, with the cost of the guided tour € 2.50 for residents of Florence, € 5 for non-residents.  Entrance to Forte Belvedere’s exhibition space costs € 10 (€ 5 reduced).

Reservations for tours are mandatory; call 055/2768224 or send an email to info@musefirenze.it .

Torre della Zecca

Originally utilized as a mint to manufacture coins, Torre della Zecca was one of the city’s defense towers. Once surrounded by other homes and structures, the tower now stands isolated over the bank of the Arno.

Located in Piazza Piave, the Torre della Zecca holds many historic tales in its mighty walls. The Archeology Cooperative will provide the background of the tower from its privileged vantage point. The September 1 opening starts at 6 pm.

La Torre di San Niccolò

One of the best-preserved towers of Florence, retaining its original height, La Torre di San Niccolò welcomes visitors September 1 to September 30 between 4 and 7 pm every 30 minutes daily. Visit includes a guided tour with an ascent that sweeps the panorama of the city, which is worth the 160-step climb.

Forte Belvedere

Known also as the Fortezza di San Giorgio, Forte Belvedere was designed and built by Bernardo Buontalenti between 1590 and 1595, following the commission by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici. It is the second and largest fortress in Florence. Both Renaissance and military style elements can be found on the fort’s architecture.

Forte Belvedere offers two exhibitions: “Play It Again” by Ra di Martino and “FOTOGRAFE!” by women photographers. It is open from September 1 through October 2 between 4 – 5.30 pm. Free visits reserved for Unicoop Firenze members.

Porta Romana

Porta Romana is the largest and best-preserved gate of the city. The gate is part of the ancient walls of Florence, constructed in 1330. It also offers a panoramic view of the Oltrarno area.

It is open to visits between 4 – 7 pm on September 3.

Fortezza de Basso

Also known as the Fortezza di San Giovanni, Fortezza de Basso was designed by Antonio da Sangallo and built between 1534-1537. Once housing military stockpiles, now it functions as an event and exhibition center located within the fourteenth century walls of Florence. It’s on a walking distance to the Santa Maria Novella train station and worth seeing.

The Fortezza de Basso is open on September 8.