I find that I enjoy imagining how people lived in times past. When I am walking in a place like Florence (which has been a settlement since before the Romans) there are many medieval buildings still being used and lived in that make me wonder who lived there.
One of my fascinations is old doors and locks. How did people keep those invaders out of their castle or their homes? So here are some photos of a back door of the Palazzo Vecchio (means old palace) in the center of Florence. It was started to be built in 1299 to protect the city officials from people who might like to influence them at the point of a sword. If you rode up on your horse you would see a building like this; But if you were trying to sneak into the back door this is what you would have encountered. It is about 18 feet high, there are 4 doors in this door ( 2 on the bottom and 2 on the top). The outside wood is studded with projecting points in case you missed the “stay out sign”.
But it is the inside of this door that is incredible. These builders were intent on making this door strong and unbreakable. Here is the inside photo. As you can see there is a lot of hardware on this door. I was very impressed by all the ways they reinforced the wood and managed to come up with a series of locks and bars. Here are some close up photographs. You can use your imagination about how they were used to keep the people safe inside. If you have a detailed explanation about how all of this hardware worked, please feel free to leave some comments. So let’s start from the bottom and work our way up the door. okay there you go, one door, an ingenious set of locks from the 14th and 15th centuries.