Salamarzana Castle - Rocca Fiorentina
The 'Torre Grossa' built on the Salamarzana
One of the Gates on the outer enclosure.
The town of Fucecchio is reachable following the motorway FI-PI-LI,
it is located 7 kilometres away from the 'Empoli Ovest' exit.
origin of this settlement is obscure. Leaving out the legends that want
the village founded by a community of Greek
exiles that up streamed the river Arno, the area was sure inhabited
since the Etruscan before and Roman age
then, but of this period there are not important historical testimonies,
some small archaeological discoveries near Ponte a Cappiano.
The first sources that mention Fucecchio go back to 10th century and
is thanks to these, in which is written about a 'New Village
of Fucecchio' that we have a confirmation of its ancient history.
The name that the main public square still bears today is the one of
the ancient castle, Salamarzana, and derives from the
ancient cult of the God Mars [' Sala Marzana' means
' Mars Court' ].
Fiorentina, that today rises on the rests
of the ancient Salamarzana Castle, dominates the historical
center of the town on a hill from where, in feudal times, the Cadolingi [family
of Longbeards origin, builders of the most ancient fortifications
and lords of the country until 1113], controlled
the underlying ford and bridge [at that time in timber, the 'Bonfiglio'
Bridge] where the Francigena Road cross the Arno.
The entire complex is today enclosed in the area of the 'Parco Corsini'.
fortified area is dominated by the towers of the Rocca
Fiorentina erected in 1322, during the war against Castruccio
lord of Lucca, with the aim to guarantee the fidelity
of the Guelph part of the Valdarno, allied with Florence.
The imposing construction is constituted by two great
towers, the 'Torre
Grossa' and the 'Torre di Mezzo', and from
another smaller (called Pagliaiola), encircled by
a double curtain wall equipped with some flanking towers and other
(like a Barbican) nearby the main Gates. Today the
complex is in ruin for the bombardments endured during the second world
'Torre Grossa' rises on the place of the previous
city-state age keep (still today the base in stone differs from the
bricks of the rest of the construction) dated back to 12-13th century
up on the ruins of the most ancient tower of the castle of Salamarzana
(11th century ).
Controlled by a garrison at the orders of the dominant
city, it had also the purpose to repress the anti-florentine
ferments frequently manifested
in the course of the 1300's. The towers were used also to communicate
with the near castles using fire and smoke signals.
to military uses until the 14th century, the Rocca lost
the original strategic importance at the beginning of 15th
century when Florence,
conquered Pisa, consolidated the western borders,
attesting its stronghold against Lucca between Montecarlo and Altopascio.
The Rocca, also remaining a property of Florence, was entrusted to
the Municipality of Fucecchio becoming a dependence of the adjacent
'palagio', built up on the most ancient castle walls.
This palace conserves inside traces of the previous medieval constructions.
Since the 1460 the Palace become the administrative center of a great
farm of Medicean property. The fortified area, lost
every strategic interest, was used like warehouse of agricultural commodities.
In the 1643 the
farm was acquired by Marquises Corsini, that in 1864
become also owners of the Rocca. In 1981 the Municipality repurchased
the entire complex,
then restored and destined it to public use (museum of the city, park,
library, the historical archives, social services). Freely visible.