Piazza della Torre, 41121 Modena MO, Italia
Next to the apse of the Cathedral, tall and elegant in its harmonious proportions, rises up the Ghirlandina Tower, the symbol of Modena. The name by which it is affectionately known by the people of Modena originates from the marble balustrades crowning its spire ‘like graceful garlands’. Although built as the bell tower, the Ghirlandina has since its beginnings held an important civic function: the sound of the bells marked the rhythms of city life, announced the opening of the city gates and rallied the citizens in situations of alarm or danger. Its mighty walls were custodian to the town hall’s ‘sacresty’: here were stored the strongbox and all public documents, such as the celebrated 12th century ‘stolen pail’ (today a facsimile), the supreme object of conflict between Modena and Bologna in the raging historical battle of Zappolino (1325).