Lastra a Signa Town Walls
Lastra a Signa is in the outskirts of Florence,
in the lower Arno valley. Can be reached from the city passing through
Scandicci or following the Motorway FI-PI-LI.
here for a Map
One of the Towers on the North West side.
Lastra a Signa, toponym derived from the presence in
this area of numerous stone caves, until the 1200 was known as Lastra
dei Gangalandi, from the name of the family that had its lordship. The
origin of the settlement dates back before the year 1000, fief of the
Cadolingi di Fucecchio. Lastra became soon a strategical point in the
rapid spread of Florence due to its position, at the center of the valley
of the Arno towards Pisa, useful to have access to the sea (at that time
the river was navigable). The first fortifications of Lastra were two
castles, the first on Mount Cascioli and the second to Mount Orlando,
later was erected a most powerful fortification that rose where today
is the city center. Lastra a Signa withstand Florence at least until 1365.
In this year the historical notices tell us of a Pisane siege to Lastra
and this make us suppose that the city was under the Florentine control.
Few years later, in 1377, Lastra was encircled by a new walled crenelated
and towered enclosure.
'Portone di Baccio'
This walls have an irregular semi-trapezoidal shape with
the two greatest streets crossing inside it forming a 'T' with at each
extremity the three gates: 'Fiorentina' at southeast, 'Pisana' at northwest
and 'Portone DI Baccio' at southwest. The walls were completed between
1400 and 1403 and its construction transformed Lastra in the strongest
Florentine outpost against Pisa. Currently three sides (northwest, northeast,
and southeast) are practically intact endowed with eight square towers,
while almost disappeared is the southeast one. All the walled enclosure
is gifted with not homogenous gifted of machicoulis (projection from the
wall made of stone but here without openings to enable the defenders to
fire upon an enemy directly below) and also the great Florentine architect
Filippo Brunelleschi, in 1426, took part at its construction . Lastra
a Signa is considered the first example of Tuscan tardo gothic city walls
endowed of machicolation on the whole perimeter.
Tower on the south east side
Starting from where the Fiorentina Gate stands, it was
destroyed during the last world war, we can analyze the southeast side
of the walls. The was realized using irregular stones with the classic
external profile constituted by scarped wall-redondone (a frame in stone)-main
wall-machicolation-parapet. The merlons of the tower in the middle of
the curtain are a reconstruction. On the southwest side we find the 'Portone
DI Baccio', recently restored enormous fortified structure and main city
gate without the inner front. The northwest side has the same characteristics
of the one of southeast, with three towers and the Pisana Gate. On the
northeast side many houses are leaned against the inner side of the walls
but externally is the best conserved, with four towers and complete machicoulis.