A city break in medieval Europe

From Rome to Rheims and Bologna to Bamberg, join us on a tour of the 12th and 13th centuries’ bustling metropolises. Savour their sights and sounds via the accounts of those who lived in them. Your guide for our trip is Paul Oldfield...

Canterbury pilgrims from John of Lydgate’s ‘Story of Thebes’ written c1420. (Photo by Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the December 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine

Towering achievements

The 12th century is witnessing a major building boom – and, as you’ll see, the the results are spectacular

The best way to start your tour of Europe’s medieval cities is surely to look to the heavens. Newly built cathedrals and church spires seem to be pushing cities ever upwards, nearer to God – and so are city towers. Some are constructed to defend the city, others are privately owned, adverts of a family’s power. In Metz, as an abbot tells us, you’ll have to crane your neck backwards to see the tops of towers that are lost in the clouds.

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