The Campatelli tower-house is an 18th century palazzo that encompasses one of the famous towers of San Gimignano. The construction of the original property – the Medieval tower – dates from mid-12th century: a typical tower-house on the Pisan model, it was initially 11m in height and was then raised up to reach the 28m we see today.
The height of the towers was increased in order to display the power of the local families, but in certain cases, such as this, the towers could serve as actual residences, with the rooms arranged vertically on wooden floors that have today been partially reconstructed.
Over the centuries, various adjacent constructions were added to the tower, and by the mid-18th century the building resembled a typical palazzo with a Florentine-syle intonaco facade. In the early 19th century, the Campatellis, a landowning family of entrepreneurs, acquired the entire building, transforming it into a traditional upper-middle-class house, to which they would come to manage their affairs and the income they received from the lands they owned just outside the town, or to spend their holidays.
In 2005, Lydia Campatelli, the last owner of the property, donated the Campatelli Tower-House to FAI on condition that it be opened up to the public, together with the furnishings and the collection that it be opened up to the public, together with the furnishing and the collections contained within it, including the pictures by the famous Florentine artist Guido Peyron (1898-1960), the donor’s uncle.
Today, the Campatelli Tower-House offers a rich, multi-faceted visitor experience, featuring fascinating content and immersive screenings. This allows visitors to get the most out of a trip to the town and to become enthused about its history, art and landscape.
The visit begins in the Attic Spaces and the Tower, where you are treated to a screening of A Thousand Years in San Gimignano. Which brings the walls of the house to life. The film enters into a dialogue with a dazzling alabaster model of the town, in a captivating combination of audio-visual evocations that signals the start of your journey in search of San Gimignano.
On the same floor, you will come across a space where you can browse books on the town and the surrounding area, and discover – in a small, temporary exhibition – a number of compelling items from the archive of the family who lived in Casa Campatelli.
The visit continues on the piano nobile, which has been remodeled to resemble the way it would have looked in the late 19th century, with original furnishings and objects d’art from the house, to give you the chance to savour the atmosphere of an earlier age. As you make your way between public rooms and bedrooms, where you will find paintings, documents, decorative pieces and photographs collected by the donor, which illustrate the people who lived here and their experiences, as well as the more general lifestyle of a typical upper-middle-class Tuscan family of the time.