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Visita il Mugello, culla dei medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane
 

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San Miniato

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Inhabitants in 1991: 25.352

Situated in Valdarno di Sotto, the municipal territory extends for 102,56 square kilometres on the heights dominating the plain of the Arno between the valleys of Egola and Elsa in that plain. Municipal of Medieval origins, it suffered in 1928 territorial reductions with the separation of the district of Olgiati which was aggregated to Palaia.

An extremely ancient settlement as is demonstrated in the discovery of finds from the prehistoric era, San Miniato affirmed its importance in the Medieval above all for its position at the meeting point of the rivers Arno and Elsa and the road from Pisa to Firenze and the Francigena. Its origins seem tied to a village developed around a chapel founded in the VIII century and given in yearly lease in 938 to a noble from Lucca. Already highly populated and surrounded by a moat in 999, it was armed with fortifications in XII century. In 1178 and 1185 Federigo I Barbarossa stayed there from whom it seems to have been given the name of “al Tedesco” (as a German) A Ghibellino municipality with a certain autonomous precocity, it received numerous privileges from Emperor Federico II, who stayed there in 1226 and conceived an urban restructuring in a predominantly military sense, making it at the same time the Seat of an Imperial Vicar (who would be forced to abandon Toscana in 1284 after the defeat of Pisa at Meloria, its most valid protector).

In 1291 San Miniato was united to the Guelfa league captained by Firenze fighting with them in 1307 against Arezzo and the exiling Bianchi. Theatre of the district battles and of devastation for all of the XIV century, just in 1313 alone it lost various territories rebelling against its dominion or being conquered by Pisa. These territories re-entered into its possession in 1317 based on the peace between the Toscana communities concluded within its walls, even though the controversies continued until the peace of Montopoli in 1329 In 1347 it was placed under the direct dominion of Firenze against whom it rebelled in 1367 on the instigation of the Pisa municipality. After a long siege it was reconquered in 1370 by the Fiorentini who substituted the Nickname “al Tedesco” with that of “Fiorentino”. Elected seat of Vicariate of the Valdarno Inferiore, it remained from then on under the authority of Firenze following their events (somewhat dramatic, as on the occasion of the siege and ransacking suffered in 1529 by the troops of Carlo V).

In 1622 it obtained the Episcopal seat and title of City. A stay by Napoleone in 1797 persuaded many to enrol in the “Revolutionary” army. After an uncertain participation in the movement of ’48 it manifested its support of Leopoldo II, soliciting at the same time the enactment of the constitution. Nevertheless numerous people from San Miniato participated in the war of independence in 1859. From 1929 it developed a discreet clandestine antifascist organisation and during the resistance formed a partisan brigade. Among its illustrious sons are honoured Francesco I Sforza (1401-1466), the artist Ludovico Cardi called Il Cigoli (1559-1613), Architect Antonio Piccolini (1772-1850) and the philosopher Augusto Conti (1822-1905).

Places to visit:
The Tower, on the summit of the hill at an altitude of 192 metres it dominates all the Valdarno. This tower established in 1200s destroyed by the bombardments of the last war, was reconstructed in 1958. It is called “di Federico” because Federico II had it built.
Palazzo dei Vicari, Ottone I had it constructed in the XII century encompassing one of the most ancient crenelated towers. The interior has frescoes.
The Cathedral, named for Assunta and S. Genesio, it is a vast building many times remodelled. Functioning as the bell tower is the Matilde Tower, the most ancient tower of the fortified complex. The three nave, Latin cross interior of the Cathedral preserves precious works of art from diverse eras,
Diocese Museum of Sacred Art, where the works of Filippo Lippi, Neri di Bicci Fra’Barlomeo and other artists are on show.
S. Domenico, church with an incomplete façade, of extremely ancient establishment, was constructed in the 1300. Conserved internally among other important works it a terracotta Robbiane and precious paintings.

Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Picture by Sandro Santioli
Translated by Ann Mountford

 
 
 
   
 
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