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Barberino di Mugello

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Inhabitants in 1991: 8.739

The Municipal territory of Barberino di Mugello extends for 133,71 kilometres in the high Val di Sieve between the Tosco-Emiliano Appennino and the Caldana Mountains. Feudal Centre then Medieval Podesta, it became the community seat in 1774 with the Leopoldine reforms: it reached its present day territorial aspect in 1984 with the detachment of four areas on its western borders, which were aggregated to the communities of Vernio, Cantagallo and Vaiano.

The first historic mention of the Barberino castle goes back to 1074; from the XII century it was the fort which dominated the village and from which the Cattani da Barberino ruled the territory, vassals of the Fiorentino Bishops. In 1313 the Fiorentina Republic acquired all rights to the castle and the underlying village, which would have been already of notable proportions; but in 1351 Barberino traitorously welcomed the Visconti army breaking the decreed pacts with Firenze. But Firenze after having, in a short time, re-conquered it decided to destroy the castle and to fortify the houses which sprung up on the plain, which from that moment became part of the Fiorentino county.

The destruction of the castle was however, a strategic error, for which Barberino, finding itself a town in the location of a busy intersection, was to suffer, remaining victim of the attacks by Italian and foreign militia that came down from the Appennino against Firenze: the mercenaries of Giovanni Acuto (1364), the troops of Duke Valentino (1501), those of the Viceroy of Napoli and Giovanni dei Medici (1512), Spanish, Lansquenet and German (1527) all caused sufferance and destruction to the community. But its position on an important road signified, even in peace time, a heyday of commerce. Towards the end of the 1400s protected by the Medici, Barberino was a prosperous and active centre, and as a castle “well populated and well trafficked” as was recorded in the 1700s’ Leopoldine Statements. Pugnacious centre of workers leagues from the end of the 1800s to the early 1900s, severely repressed with the coming of Fascism, in 1943 it was able to organise one of the most active CNL of the Fiorentina province.

 

Places to visit:
Cafaggiolo castle,
this imposing building was the favourite country house of Lorenzo "Il Magnifico". Originally a Florentine fortress it was converted into a villa in 1451 by request of Cosimo "Il Vecchio" de' Medici by Michelozzo Michelozzi afer which it underwent numerous alterations during the 1800s. Behind the villa is a dense, wild forest.
The castle, privately owned, is used for events and weddings and is opened to visitors.
Lake of Bilancino, Bilancino lake, its deepest point is 31 metres and the inclusive surface of water is 5 square kilometres. It is only a few kilometres from the motorway entry-exit point of Barberino Mugello.
Sports like canoeing, sailing and windsurfing can be practised on the lake.
Sant'Andrea a Camoggiano church, on the road for Montecuccoli distinguished by the elegant and exceptional facade of the loggia (1470). In the interior a splendid cloister with portico.
S. Giovanni in Petroio parish, one of the most ancient Romanesque churches of the area, was built on a hilltop dominating the high Sieve Valley. The first documents about it can be dated back to 1097. The church is with a nave and two aisles. The Romanesque capitals are made of stone. In the right nave one can find a beautiful christening font dated back to fifteenth centur.
From San Giovanni in Petroio one can enjoy a beatiful view over the valley and the lake of Bilancino.

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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