Torre delle Ore in Lucca, with its 50 metres, is the tallest of the 130 towers to have been built in the city since Medieval times. It is centrally located in via Fillungo at the corner with via dell’Arancio, and is the only tower that has remained, together with Torre Guinigi.
It is possible to visit, climbing the 207 steps of the original wooden staircase at the end of which you can admire the clock mechanism. From the arched loggia at the top, you can also enjoy the magnificent view of roofs and bell-towers of Lucca and, further in the distance, the gently rolling hills and landscapes of the Piana di Lucca.
The Tower, built in the 13th century, belonged to the best-known families of Lucca such as Quartigiani, Diversi, Cristofani, Sesmondi and Ceci. In 1390, the General Council of Lucca decided to have the clock made by the most important goldsmith of Lucca at the time, Labruccio Cerlotti. In 1490, the external dial was positioned to make the time visible as well as audible by the chimes. Louis Simon from Geneva designed a new mechanism in the 18th century with the help of Sigismondo Caturegli from Lucca. At the same time, three new bells were installed, work by Stefano Filippi. The motto “Libertas” on the iron weathervane and the year 1754 on the roof recall this event.
Torre delle Ore is linked to the legend of Lucida Mansi. The noble woman from Lucca sold her soul to the Devil in exchange of beauty and youth. After the thirty years agreed were up, the Devil would return to demand payment of the debt: her soul. The night of 14th August 1623, the last of her “diabolic” youth, Lucida climbed the over 200 steps of the Tower to stop the bell that would strike the hour of her death. She failed to make it on time and threw herself into the lake of the Botanical Garden, from where it is said she still comes out on nights of full moon.