The Northwest front, toward the ancient
road to Pisa.
The Western Tower
Malmantile can be reached following the indications from the center
of Lastra a Signa.
The South West Gate.
The small fortified village of Malmantile is encircled
by one of the finest and well-preserved medieval town walls of Tuscany.
The origin of the settlement are unknown, it was mainly a military
stronghold along the ancient road that connected Florence to Pisa
and only after became a town. The legend says that the origin of its
name dates back to the fourth century! S.Ambrogio, bishop of Milan,
was traveling towards the central Italy while S.Zanobi, bishop of
Florence, was in this zone. The two religious met just outside the
town walls, where today rises a tabernacle, and remained for some
day to talk about religiosity, guests of a homestead. When S.Ambrogio
leave he was so displeased of the bad welcome received from the inhabitants
of the place that cursed the land and a few days later the homestead
collapsed into a crack! After this event the place was called 'Malmantile'
that in ancient Italian means 'bad welcome'.
The surviving machicolation.
The late gothic walled enclosure of the country dates
back to the 1424 and is considered one of the first examples of fortified
town-walls with machicolations on all the perimeter, that became the
most used type for all the successive century. Also the great florentine
architect Brunelleschi took part at its construction. The walls have
a dimension of 125x70 meters and form nearly a perfect rectangle,
oriented with the longest sides to the northwest and southeast and
with the shortest, at the center of which are opened the two gates,
to the northeast and the southwest. Although all the perimeter of
the stone walls is conserved, little remains of the machicoulis. This
was formed by brackets in stone, of the four rounded projections type,
to support the ogival arch in bricks. Here we can find, on alternate
ogive, the hole for the dropping defense. The town-walls are completed
with square towers at the angles and other two towers at the middle
of the longest sides.
A loophole of the Florentine gate.
The two gates, both with curved arch, are obtained
with a outside projection of the town wall and endowed with loopholes
on both sides. At the west of the gate turned towards Pisa (southwest)
we find the only intact part of the machicolations, crowned by a parapet.
At south of the gate the walls are in some points pierced by the windows
of the houses built against the inside part. The northwest side is
free from inner constructions but partially covered from external
houses. The other gate, toward Florence, need urgent restoration,
the arch is nowadays at risk of collapse. Malmantile, usually between
May and June, accommodates a 'Festa Medievale' (Medieval reenactment).