The Medieval Walls of Cascina

The medieval walls of Cascina surrounded the ancient town, often at the centre of wars between the Republic of Pisa and Florence.

The construction and modifications

The Walls were built in the 13th century in stone and brick.

Several construction phases can be seen, so it is likely that they were erected in successive eras. The walls, approximately 1.20 metres thick, consist especially in the lower part of large verrucano stones and mixed materials (river pebbles with mortar, in the style of Roman walls). From a later period are the embrasures positioned under the crossbows. Above, the brick patrol walkway with square battlements.

Two gates opened to allow passage on the east-west axis: Porta Pisana and Porta Fiorentina, protected by towers. Both were demolished at the end of the 19th century to allow the trammino line to pass through, which has now disappeared. Along the perimeter of the walls there were a total of 13 brick towers, four of which were angular and nine called ‘rompitratta’, open towards the city to prevent enemies from barricading themselves in once they entered. Today, unfortunately, the towers have undergone numerous transformations and have been put to other uses.

Other sections of the walls were demolished to create new entrances, others are only visible internally, as they were incorporated into the numerous industrial warehouses that sprung up in the 20th century for the development of the furniture industry.

The towers

The pentagonal corner towers are distinctive. Outside the walls was a moat, perhaps once fed by the Cascina stream, now the confluent of the Era river at Ponsacco. To cross the moat there were probably two drawbridges, later replaced by two fixed brick bridges.

See images on Wikimedia.

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