Montopoli in Valdarno | Marti

Marti lies on a hilltop between the Chiecina and Ricavo streams. Its name seems to derive from an ancient church dedicated to Saint Martin inside the medieval castle. The first documents attest to its existence in 1019, after which it became an important castle, often the victim of wars between Pisa, Lucca and Florence until it fell under the latter in the 15th century, which dismantled it in retaliation against the population. The medieval-style urban structure of the old town centre has remained in excellent condition. The brick structure of many buildings, such as churches or old kilns, document how since the Middle Ages the prevalent activity in the area was the production of bricks, including brick.

The Church of Santa Maria Novella is the jewel in the crown of Marti. Built in 1332, as recalled by an epigraph on the exterior, it has a façade divided into two levels and ceramic basins from the late 13th and mid 14th century, of both Pisan and Florentine production. The neo-Gothic bell tower is the work of architect Bellincioni, author of other bell towers in Valdera. The single-nave interior preserves interesting works, including a splendid pictorial cycle by Bamberini from 1722. Also worth visiting is the archaeological excavation of the Bastione, where a section of the walls of the 14th-century keep, a brick kiln and some hypogea dug into the rock have been found, suggesting the presence of the Etruscans.

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