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Description

Our earliest historical information about Bientina dates to 793 AD, when the Bishop of Lucca was granted land in the Monastery of Sant’Andrea at Bientina. The castle, the ruins of which are still visible, was constructed at the end of the twelfth century. In these centuries, Bientina – because of its location – was fought over by Pisa and Lucca until, in 1402, it decided to submit to the Florentines, to whom it remained faithful for a very long time, in particular in resisting the 1505 siege by Pisa. The beginning of the tradition of the veneration of San Valentino dates back to 1699. His fame also impressed the Florentine rulers, who often came here to pay homage to his remains. It was the Lorraines, the successors of the Medicis, who began the works to reclaim the Bientina lake.

The “Padule“, the vast plain that extends between the Monti Pisani and the Cerbaie hills, is what remains of the Lake of Bientina after the reclamation works ordered by Leopold II between 1824 and 1859. The Lucchesi called it the Lago di Sesto, because it was located six km from the city, and it was the largest of the Tuscan lakes. Drainage of the lake was completed in 1853, and the advent of industrial agriculture radically changed the fauna and flora and led to the abandonment of certain techniques for fishing and for working with the marsh grasses.

In the city centre, you can still appreciate the remains of the medieval walls and towers and the keep, which is now home to a library and the municipal archives.

For vintage and antique lovers, the traditional market on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month takes place in the main square

Information
www.comune.bientina.pi.it

 

Geographical area
Valdarno Inferiore

Population
over 8.000

Distance from Pisa
35 km

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Culture

Church of Santa Maria Assunta and Museum of Sacred Art
This church, mentioned in documents as far back as 1326, was consecrated to the Virgin of the Assumption in 1509. Over the centuries there have been many changes and additions. The church acquired a Rococo appearance in the 18th century. After the remains of the martyr St Valentine (the town’s patron saint, celebrated with a “palio” in July) arrived from Rome, stucco and decorations and the noteworthy high altar by sculptor Giovanni Baratta were added up. There are also some paintings inspired by the deeds of the saint. Not to be missed is the magnificent inlay and carving work of the coffered ceiling, an 18th century work by the Pisan master Andrea Mattei.
The museum contains sacred works of considerable interest, mainly from the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. It opened in 1993 and offers visitors a chance to admire valuable works of art and sacred furnishings including candlesticks, chalices, thuribles, monstrances, reliquaries, trays and lamps made by silversmiths from Lucca, Pisa and Florence.

Museum of Ancient History – Etruscan Museum
The museum was established in 1999 in memory of archaeologist and artist Vittorio Bernardi. The finds come from excavations on the site, which brought to light ruins from the Villanovan age and the Iron Age along with ceramics from an Etruscan house from the sixth century BCE.

The keep of the Torre Civica and the urban walls
The keep was damaged during World War II and returned to public use in 1997. Today it houses a library of 3,000 volumes and an archive that testifies to the activities of some of the important families of Bientina.
Bientina still retains important rests of the Medieval urban walls, unfortunately seriously damaged by the Nazi troops.

 

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Activities for visitors

Padule di Bientina and “Bosco Tanali” Nature Reserve
Visitors can explore the territory of the Padule di Bientina from Orentano to the Compitese (start at Via Bientinese and finish at Nuovo Lago del Padule) and from there on among the fields and canals to the Tanali Nature Oasis.

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Camper area