The history of Valdichiana is rich of specific moments and conflicts, not only against other men, but also against nature. The dike-break of Clanis River and the consequent formation of wetlands, which occupied Valdichiana for centuries, forced the population to live in a noxius area and forced them to make continual attempts at recovering the territory. Not to mention the struggle with the neighbourhood to keep the control of the few farmlands and fortresses available.
The two towers “Beccati Questo” (“Take This”) and “Beccati Quello” (“Take That”) represent the well-preserved memories of a period made of conflicts and violent clashes between the Italian lordships (a.k.a Signorie) of Florence, Arezzo, Siena, Perugia and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The two tower have been built as opponent outposts, and they clearly prove the fights in the Middle Ages, also thanks to their names, which try to enmesh and to laugh at the enemies.
The Beccati Questo (“Take This”) Tower, was built in the municipality of Chiusi around 1279 A.D. – however, the final reconstruction was made in 1427 A.D.. It was built by the Guelfs after a victory over the Ghibellines and it had to represent their supremacy over the wetlands which demarcated the territories controlled by Siena and the ones controlled by Perugia. A few years later, though, the opposing part from Perugia built the Beccati Quello (“Take That”) Tower, to laugh at the enemies from Siena. The peculiar names of the two towers, still in use nowadays, prove the importance of mockery towards the opponents in the Middle Ages, as a mean to avoid conflicts or to worsen the existing ones.
The “Beccati Questo” Tower, built on a dry soil, started to be submerged by the swamp of Valdichiana, after some creek deviations and the deviation of the Lake Trasimeno, done by the Papal States at the end of the 15th Century. A third of the structure has been filled up by the several recoveries, which were necessary in order to stop the territory from turning into wetlands. “Beccati Questo” Tower has an octagonal form with battlements, as usually done in Siena, where as “Beccati Quello” has a classic rectangular base.
The two towers, despite having been built as military outposts and defensive fortresses, have always been used as a place where tolls were collected, and they were necessary for the transit of goods and people through Valdichiana, Siena and Perugia. Nowadays, “Beccati Questo” is a community property, where as “Beccati Quello” Tower is a private property; both of them have been heavily restored, but the interior of the towers can’t be visited.
The travelers who are going by Lake of Chiusi, and who are heading towards Lake Trasimeno, can easily spot the two towers, which are standing out against the farmlands. The Take This and Take That Towers have kept an eye on each other for six centuries, one in front of the other, between Tuscany and Umbria. And they still remind the years when, among the wetlands, the lordships used to mock each other.