> The Tower Houses of Pisa
Tower-houses of Pisa:
ships in a sea of stone
are towers that were built during the Middle Ages by the more
powerful families of Pisa. The necessity to build inside the
city walls for defensive purposes, and the impossibility to
develop the vacant land outside the city walls, provoked a vertical
development of the city's structures so much like that of today's
were as high and ambitious as the families that erected them
and began to line the Tuscan skies with their outlines. Not
just in Pisa, but in Florence, which possessed more than 200,
Siena, Lucca and San Gimignano these structures attempted to
touch the heavens with their height. San Gimignano is probably
the most well-known for its towers today because it has done
the best job of conserving them and still boasts of total of
seven even today.
But probably the tower-houses
in Pisa are by far the most exceptional and original. The irregular
curve towards the bottom due to the weight of the stone caused
the need for special arches which instead of being curved in
shape, are pointed which helps support the weight of the structure.
The material (wood) used to build these strange pointed arches
was the same that was used to build the ship-frameworks in the
time of the Crusades.
If the Pisan ships were able to support the strong friction
of the sea, they realized the same structural basis and material
would also be able to support the enormous weight of the stone
used to build the towers. The "tower-houses"
of Pisa, really, do resemble ships in a sea of stone.