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Towns of the area

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Pescia

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Inhabitants in 1991: 18.123

The municipal territory of Pescia, in the western Valdinievole, extends for 79,14 square kilometres in the plains, hills and medium mountains. Medieval community then Vicariate Seat it reached its present day aspect in 1928 after having undergone numerous modifications: between 1883 and 1890 several districts were added, among which Collodi, taken from the community of Vellano and Villa Basilica (Lucca); in 1895 Chiesina Uzzanese was detached; in 1928 the municipality of Vellano was suppressed and aggregated to Pescia. From 1851 to 1928 the municipality was part of the Lucca province.

Pescia, perhaps of Roman origin, defined “vico” (village) in certain documents of IX and X centuries, probably came about as a market (its particular square is recorded as “long market” from the XI century) under the jurisdiction of Lucca; it obtained a form of autonomy at the end of the XII century and a consul government and its own magistrates which were present in 1202 at the formation of the tie with the communities of Uzzano and Vivinaia (today Montecarlo). Pescia in 1237 became, for the will of Federico II the Seat of a large Imperial Vicariate which went from the Val di Lima to Fucecchio. On the Emperor’s death it returned under the protection of Lucca and in 1281, after an attempted armed rebellion, was destroyed; in 1286 it was rebuilt; after some ten or so years of submission to Lucca, at the end of the Lordship of Castuccio Castracani, it was the major instigator of the establishment of the League of the Communities of Valdinievole (1328), which tightened an honourable alliance treaty with Firenze; but the reiterated attempts to reconquer led by the new lords of Lucca and the turbulence of the local Ghibellina group led by the Garzoni convinced them in the end in 1339 to submit totally, together with other centres to the Fiorentini, becoming a Vicariate Seat.

Fortified, densely populated and industrious capital of the Valdinievole successfully resisting more than once the armies which marched against Firenze (Francesco Sforza in 1430, the Veneziani in 1496), but it was occupied in 1530 by the troops of Fabrizio Maramaldo whom Emperor Carlo V had enlisted to restore the Medicea dynasty in Firenze. Being well known for “maximum faith” to the Medici served in its favour in the following period, it obtained title of city in 1699 from Cosimo III. and in 1726 the Episcopal seat from Pope Benedetto XIII requested by Gian Gastone in honour of whom the people of Pescia in gratitude erected the Fiorentina Gate which still stands today, To the Lorenese domination is owed the construction of the hospital (1777) and the new bridge (1783), after the Vienna Congress (1815) followed the annexation to the Duchy of Lucca and finally the return to the Grand Duchy of Toscana in 1847, as soon as Carlo Ludovico became Duke of Parma. It was a centre full of ideas during the Risorgimento, hosting the historian Ginevrino Sismondi and the Poet Giuseppe Giusti. Among the illustrious persons originating from Pescia is Sant’Alluccio the monk who founded the hospices in the XI century.

Places to visit:
Porta Fiorentina, from 1732 it was erected in honour of Gian Gastone
Piazza Mazzini, an irregular elongated form, it is a vast space surrounded by important building from various eras.
Palazzo Comunale, from the XVII century it has been remodelled several time during the centuries. Has a crenellated tower.
Vicar’s Palace, from XIII-XIV century it is the municipal Seat.
Podesta’s Palace, built between the XII and XIII centuries. It is the Seat of the “Libero Alderotti” gallery of plaster casts.
Palazzo Forti, erected at the end of the 1500s, with a lavish Baroque façade,
Flower Market, constructed in 1951, shortly after it became insufficient for the great development of the flower commerce, and thus the New Flower Market was constructed in 1968 with an area of 40,000 square metres.
The Cathedral, named for S. Maria Assunta, it was constructed in 1693 in Baroque style, radically modifying the ancient parish church of S. Maria. The single nave interior preserves precious works of art from diverse eras.
S. Francesco, from 1200s, this church in Gothic style is said to have been dedicated to S. Francesco by Venanzio Orlandi. Over the centuries it has been more than once remodelled and has an interior rich with works of art.

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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