"Come after me, and let the people talk;
Stand like a steadfast tower, that never wags
Its top for all the blowing of the winds".
When Dante Alighieri mentioned a tower in Canto V of the Purgatory, he was referring to somewhere specific. Many believe that the poet sought inspiration in the Livorno Lighthouse.
Known as the Lighthouse of Livorno, it was built by the Republic of Pisa in the early 1300s, after the Genoese had destroyed the Meloria lighthouse in 1286. Built in natural stone and resting on a 13-sided polygonal base, the lighthouse stood 47 metres high, across 11 floors with a spiral staircase built within the thickness of the walls. It was a monument to human ingenuity, considering the time in which Dante lived, which is why the poet mentions it in his Divine Comedy.
Destroyed by the Germans in 1944, Livorno's lantern was rebuilt in 1956, fully respecting the original form and using material recovered from the rubble. Today it can only be visited on certain occasions: from the top, travellers can admire breathtaking views over the Tyrrhenian Sea opposite Livorno.