Larciano Castle

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The castle of Larciano can be reached following the speedway FI-PI-LI up to the exit 'S.Miniato' continuing then toward Fucecchio and from here toward Pistoia/Cerreto Guidi. Reached S.Rocco of Larciano a signal will guide you on the road for the castle, from here around 3 kilometers far.


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Larciano dominates the western slopes of the Montalbano Mountain. The zone was center of human settlement since the Roman age, as testified by numerous archaeological recoveries, and the same name of the castle is derived from 'Larcius', a Latin personal name.

During the whole Middle Ages Larciano was the main center of this area, first of all thanks to the link with the Road Francigena that from here come up the Montalbano Mountain toward Serravalle.

The castle was property of the Counts Guidi family since the first half of the 10th century. Their dominion was then confirmed by the emperors Arrigo VI first and Federico II later. In 1225 the castle was sold to the City-state of Pistoia and thanks to its strategic position became the most powerful stronghold of the defenses on this side of the Albano Mountain.

In this time the castle and the town walls were strengthened. In 1302 Larciano fell under the siege of Florentine troops, allied with the armies of Lucca. In 1310 to regain its possession Pistoia had to pay, 10.000 gold Florins. When, in 1391, a common danger - the possible descent over Tuscany by Gian Galeazzo Visconti - united Florentines and Pistoiesi, the castle became a base for the unified army. Few years after, in 1401, Pistoia was subdued by Florence and Larciano became the center of one of a 'Podesteria' (territories administrate by a 'Podesta', Italian medieval term for chief magistrate or governor).
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At the time of its greatest glory the castle was surrounded by a strong walled enclosure endowed with two gates, one called 'di Bagno' and the other 'S.Marco'. Crowning a rocky spur, from the mighty battlements reinforced by an high watch tower make possible to dominate the whole Valdinievole.

The castle walls was equipped with machicolation over the main entrance and the town walls strengthened by flanking towers, today disappeared. The fortress is connected with the highest vertex of the city walls: a mighty curtain close the western angle forming a triangular shaped enclosure.

Inside was the palace of the Podesta but today all the inner structures are gone, only some beautiful windows, opened on the external wall, remain. At the center of the courtyard was the ancient cistern for the water. The whole complex is in good condition thanks to a recent restoration, but this cannot be said for the city walls, now partly lost. However, still intact are the two medieval gates. Inside the castle can be found a small archaeological museum.

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