Town Walls and Cassero of Paganico
|The Grossetana Gate.
||The southern front of the town walls.
The walled town of Paganico ca be found along the SS223 near Grosseto.
The development of Paganico, and its passage from little village to walled
town, is strictly connected to the beginning of the Sienese domination
on this area of the Maremma, started in 1193. The fortified strongold,
placed at the confluence between the rivers Ombrone and Lanzo, was constructed
along the main road that from Siena, passing through S.Lorenzo a Merse
and Forcole, leads to Roselle and Grosseto, giving origin to a real 'terra
nuova', a settlement straight in the heart of the new southern territories
To facilitate the economic growth, Paganico was free
of fiscal impositions and taxes, so that at the time was named Castelfranco
Paganico. To increase its importance in 1294 the town was made seat
of an important market to destabilize the feudal economic system of the
zone, controlled by the Ardengheschi family. In order to complete
the elevation of its rank, since 1303 Paganico was seat of a vicariate.
The damages provoked by the mercenary troops and the nasty air of the
Maremma, at that time a malarial swampy region, caused, starting from
the mid-13th century, the depopulation of Paganico. In 1494 the town
sacked from the troops of Carl VIII° then it passed under the Medicean
control but only with the Grand-Ducal drainages, carried on in the 18th
century, the area known an economic and social rebirth.
The first walled enclosure of Paganico dates back to 1278 and
was destroyed in the 1328 by Castruccio Castracani. Little after, in
were erected the new town walls, under the direction of the architect Lando
the same director of the works at the New Cathedral of Siena. These walls
have the shape of an irregular quadrilateral, nearly
trapezoidal, with squared towers on each curtain, four massive tower
at the angles, four gates placed
at the extremities of the two main road that crossed the town. Remnants
of the machicolations are still partially visible. A tall
'mastio' [called Cassero Senese, transformed in medicean
age in a residential palace], flanks of the North gate, also known as
'Porta Senese'. The North
and South Gates were equipped of a small barbican, now disappeared.
The eastern front of the town walls with its Gate is nowadays totaly
together with some part of the northern, but all the other sides still
surround the town, even though in some parts damaged. Intact are the 'Porta
Grossetana' (or Franca) and the Porta Senese, both endowed
with the characteristic pointed arch overlapping a lowered round arch
surmounted by the black and white coat of arms of Siena. Partially intact
is also the Porta Ovest.
Inside the town is geometrically laid out, as all the planned settlements,
with some beautiful medieval mansion with porches and, in the main square,
the recently restored well and the Romanesque church of S.Michele,
erected between 1296 and 1305, with two cycles of frescoes attributed
to Biagio di Goro Ghezzi.