The “Chandelier” Tower and the Sienese Fortress

Climbing up through via Moncini, you will eventually find in front of you the impressive Silici Gate. From here you can access Cittanuova (literally “New Town”), the upper medieval neighbourhood of Massa Marittima that was built at the beginning of the XIII century after a sudden population increase.
A few steps ahead there is the massive 24mt high tower, built in 1228 a few years after Massa Marittima became an independent city. The peculiar name comes from the habit of keeping a fire always lit on the top, which made the building look like a huge candle.
A bell was erected for the first time in 1413, then replaced by the current one in 1760, which weights 140kg. The first clock was installed in 144 and it has been replaced and fixed several times during the centuries.
When Siena conquered Massa Marittima in 1335, the Tower was partially destroyed and then rebuilt roughly one third smaller than the original. At this point Siena decided to build up a second defensive wall and a fortress, in order to better control the citizens of Massa Marittima and avoid rebellions.

The tower is nowadays one of the museums of Massa Marittima and it is the best sightseeing spot of the city. You can access though some side stairs and, climbing up, you can walk through the Sienese Arch, which connects to the Fortress: this is the only part of the medieval walls where you can walk on.
The area between the two defensive walls is now used to host concerts and various events.

by Google »