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Empoli

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Inhabitants in 1991: 43.522

The municipal territory of Empoli in Valdarno Inferiore extends for 62,28 square kilometres in the plains. Medieval fortified centre of notable importance reduced to modest community in the course of the XVI century, was restored to its importance by Pietro Leopoldo who conferred on it the jurisdiction over a territory more or less identical to its own.

Empoli flourished in the Roman era corresponding to the third outstation of the ancient road from Firenze to Pisa, in the XII century is was a feudal possession of the Guidi Counts. In 1120 it was fortified by Count Guido Guerra, but the geographical importance of this castle was too relevant for Firenze to not try to annex it. So in 1182 the Fiorentina republic forced Empoli to swear allegiance, and in the following decade continued its work of progressive subjugation acquiring from Guidi, in 1255, the dominion of the greater part of the castle for the sum of 28,700 pounds; in 1273 the annexation was completed with the acquisition, still from Guidi, of the remaining part of the Empoli district for 8,000 pounds. Empoli's central position made it certain that it was intended as a place for convening the representatives of the various Tuscana municipals: the most famous being that of Ghibellino in September 1260. Farinata degli Uberti, courageously defended the right of the survival of Firenze after the defeat of Montaperti. In 1333 the walls of Empoli were destroyed by the river Arno overflowing; rebuilt in 1337; a new wall belt became necessary in the second half of the XV century by the population expansion. Seized in 1530 by the undisciplined soldiers of Vitelli and the Marquis of Vasto. it suffered sackage and grave destruction; in memory of the courageous resistance by Empoli during the assault Vasar painted the event in the Palazzo Vecchio in Firenze. During the Grand Duchy it was the Seat of Office of a Podesta with civil and criminal jurisdiction; in 1774 Pietro Leopoldo added the municipals of Monterappoli and Pontorme (birthplace of Jacopo Carucci called the Pontormo, 1494-1556); a singular episode of support by Empoli for the Lorenese dynasty was the revolt of "Viva Maria" against the French in May of 1799. The population's traditional liberty and democracy was strongly repressed with Fascism (the bloodshed of 1921 served as a tragic excuse); new bereavements were added with the war and the reprisals; in the bombardments of the city on 26 December 1943 more than 100 people died; 29 citizens were shot by the Germans the following July. At the moment of the Liberation on 15 July 1944, Empoli was a heap of rubble, but the tenacity of its inhabitants made a rapid rebirth possible.

Places to visit:
Piazza Farinata degli Uberti, ancient historic nucleus of the town, surrounded by gates and embellished by a 1800s marble fountain
Collegiata di S. Andrea, preserves the lower part of the facade going back to 1093. The bombardment of the last world war badly damaged the interior and exterior of the collegiate, which however has been restored and reconstructed.
Museum of the S. Andrea Collegiate, adjacent to the church was instituted in 1859. It is one of the oldest and most important of the ecclesiastic museums of Toscana. The museum tour also provides a visit to the church of S. Stefano from the XIV century annexed to the convent of the Agostiniani.

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


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