THINGS TO DISCOVER:
Tesorino spring water • In the hills you will find the protected and uncontaminated Tesorino spring water, famous for its therapeutic properties and bottled since 1941.
THINGS TO KNOW:
Castruccio Castracani arch • The arch is what is left of the imposing castle fortifications. The Ghibelline leader Castruccio Castracani was supposed to have been wounded right here during the siege of Montopoli by the Florentine army.
Montopoli in Val d’Arno today is an important center of the tanning industry, but going back in time, around the eighth century, we would have found a fortress on a small relief of tuff. That fortress was destroyed in 1944.
A medieval hamlet
The history of the Montopoli reminds that of the Lower Valdarno area, with many battles mentioned in the works of important artists. Boccaccio was so struck by the mighty fortifications, that defined “famous” the castle of Montopoli that Pisa, Lucca, and Florence fought for.
Until 1349, when the population decided to submission to Florence after the battle of San Romano, immortalized by Paolo Uccello in three paintings now preserved in the Uffizi, the Louvre, and the National Gallery in London.
Traces of the Medieval period are the Arch of Castruccio Castracani and the Tower of San Matteo, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view from the Valdarno to the Apuan Alps. The Civic Museum housed at Palazzo Guicciardini shows artifacts from the Etruscan era to the Middle Ages, with a section on ceramics by Dante Milani and artistic terracottas for which Montopoli was famous in Europe.
The museum and the neighboring Antiquarium and Bastion Excavation Site in the village of Marti form the Montopolese Museum Network.
Montopoli boasts religious buildings of great popular devotion such as the Church of the “Madonna del Soccorso”, the Oratory of San Sebastiano, the Conservatory of Santa Marta with Tuscan paintings. Last but not least, the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Romano, a pilgrimage destination for the faithful and home to one of the most visited cribs in Tuscany, is worth a visit.
Summer residence of the Piaggio and Agnelli families
In the 18th century Montopoli attracted important Florentine families who built their villas here as summer residences. Among these, we note that of Varramista which, in the 20th century, would become the property of the Piaggio and Agnelli families. It was here that the wedding between Antonella, the adopted daughter of Enrico Piaggio, and Umberto Agnelli took place.
The surrounding area and its beautiful hills offer opportunities for lovers of ring route excursions such as the one around the Chiecina or the Marti rivers on foot, by bike or on horseback.