The extended Museum System of San Miniato The extended Museum System of San Miniato

Tower of Frederick II

For its strategic position, San Miniato became part of the Swabian imperial defensive system and seat of the imperial finance administration for central Italy in the 11th century. The highest Tower at the peak of the hill was bulilt under Empreror Frederick II from the 1217 and 1223. Moreover than a defense tower the Rocca was used as prison. In Italy, there are many exemples of architectures and buildings built during his glorious reign: Castel del Monte, Castel di Melfi and many others...

credit Riccardo Taddei

The tower is 30 meters high, it represents the last vestige of Frederik's keep, heart of complex fortress. Today, there is a new version built in 1958 after the original was destroyed during the Second Wold War. From the top of the tower, one can observe the structure of the city which develops along the main street on the ridge of the hill. In the past, the military fortification was made up of two trapezoidal wall circuits, almost as if to describe the shape of an eight. In the medieval architecture and symbolism, the eight was the synonymous of infinity and equality. The first ring of walls encircled the top of the hill, the second and wider one went down to the area that corresponds to today's Cathedral's Square. This second ring included the Torre delle Cornacchie, destroyed in the 19th century, and the Matilde's Tower, today the Cathedral's bell tower.


Opening time: Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm



Frederick II - Stupor Mundi Frederick II - Stupor Mundi

In 1194, on the 26 December Costanza dall'Altavilla is almost 40 years old, an old woman considered the medieval life expectancy. To prove the delivery and silence the gossips she decides to have the child in pubblic, in a tent camped in a square. The date of his birth, the name of the city where he born, Jesi, being the heir of the Kingdom of Sicily and of the Swabian German lineage, his born was signed by symbolic meanings. His destiny is already a myth. Those who loved him saw in the signs of his birth the proof of a divine predestination, his enemies read in them a damnation, the coming of the antichrist.
By the age of 4 he was an orphan, loved from his people and protected by the Pope, he grew in Sicily, "The blond Prince of Puglia". Sicily was a multicultural country, with arabs, jewish, christians and german, the young boy grows as legitimate ruler of the Kingdom.When he is 15 he marries the widow Costanza d'Aragona, who is 10 years older than him and with an other child. From the edge of the Sacred Roman Empire, Frederick II claimed the crown as Emperor and gets it in 1220.
Meanwhile the west world is occupied in holy wars in Jerusalem against the arab. Frederick II has to take part in these wars to respond the expectation of the Pope and the west rulers, but being the 5th Crusade he is not interested in them anymore as manyother contemporary, and he decides to not take part. He got an excommunication and his damnation begins.
His personality is incredibly rich. He was a polyhedric man, studied science, nature, litterature, promoting and leaving beautiful architectural buildings. He seeds the renaissance court idea, the idea of a enriching cultural heritage. He could perfectly spoke arab, and had relationship with arab sovreigns and philosophers of the Mediterrean. He gained a bad reputation in the Christian clerical world, during the political dispute that opposed the holy power of Rome to the military power of the noble rulers.