THE MATILDE TOWER
The Matilde Tower is an important building in Viareggio, an example of 16th century military architecture.
The name given to it due to the incorrect attribution it was built for Mathilde di Canossa.
Following the advance of the coast, the castle of Viareggio (castrum of Via Regia, built in 1172, only access to the sea thanks to the mouth of the Selice of 1441, current Burlamacca canal), was not effective for the protection of the coast, thus, the Lucchese government decided to build a tower on the sea, on June 5, 1534.
For the construction, excavated stones were used, which could be obtained from the partial demolition of the old castle.
Construction taxes were issued in 1542.
A garrison of 15 men is established.
In 1546-1549 the residence of the “commissioner of the beaches”, the one who controlled the village, was built.
In the 17th century the tower was raised by one floor and surmounted by a bell tower, where there were two bells.
After 1703, the public clock was moved from the facade of the commissioner's house to the top of the tower.
In April 1780, the Tower was struck by lightning, where a soldier on guard was killed, but spared the firearms depot. constituted.
In 1788, the present Burlamacca Canal was built.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Tower was used as a prison, in total there were 6 cells, where 6 prisoners could stay in each cell, it maintained this function until the Second World War.
After the abolition of the prison in 1945, the Tower remained closed until 1969, when the first restoration works took place.
Even today, the Tower accomodates cultural events and art exhibitions.