The Italian City-Republics Were the Manhattan of the Twelfth Century

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Mihai Macovei

“The beautiful Italian town of Bologna is famous for its vast historical center full of medieval buildings, palaces, churches, and elegant porticoes. The visitor is left speechless by the remaining twenty-two towers out of about 180 erected between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Asinelli tower, the tallest of them at 97 meters, compares to the standard height of a modern skyscraper. It is truly amazing that in the early Middle Ages, Bologna’s spectacular towers made it look very much like Manhattan today. Such towers were built in many northern Italian towns by rich families for defensive purposes when rivalries between oligarchic clans turned deadly. They were also a status symbol, and their construction, which was quite onerous, bears witness to the economic miracle that took place in that period.” (01/17/23)