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Description

With Pontedera’s strategic position near the meeting of the Era and Arno rivers, it was fought over by Pisa, Lucca and Florence, and had an important role in trade since the Renaissance. It has been inhabited since the Neolithic. The first mention of the community of Ponte Herae is in a document from 1171. The story of Pontedera has changed much over the years, but the greatest push in development of the city came in the early twentieth century from engineer Rinaldo Piaggio, owner of a large aeronautical construction company that moved here from Genoa. World War II brought the city of Pontedera to its knees, but when the fighting ended, the city put its stock in the driving force behind Piaggio, and converted its production into motorbike manufacturing.
Since 2000, the Museo della Fondazione Piaggio has housed to the company’s older models as well as an extensive historical archive. Also noteworthy in economic terms is the Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, an important robotics research centre.

Information
Associazione culturale Sete Sóis Sete Luas
per conto dell’Unione Valdera
viale Rinaldo Piaggio, 82
56025 Pontedera
t. +39 388 7583081
www.rmvaldera.it

Geographical area
Valdarno Inferiore

Population
over 29.000

Distance from Pisa
26 km

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Culture

Centrum Sete Sóis Sete Luas
Centrum Sete Sóis Sete Luas is a place for encounters and for intercultural dialogue, a space to come together and exchange points of view, a creative workshop where major artists from the Mediterranean and especially the Lusosphere carry out artistic residencies, art workshops and exhibitions. Contemporary art, artistic residencies, creativity labs, concerts and productions of original musical and multicultural meetups, often accompanied by food and wine tastings: these are the main activities that bring life to Pontadera’s Centrum Sete Sóis Sete Luas. It is part of a network with 7 other Centrums with the same name, in the islands of Cape Verde, in France and in Portugal.

Duomo (Cathedral) Propositura dei Santi Jacopo e Filippo
Also called the Chiesa Nuova (new church), its exterior features a façade with a pronaos consisting of eight columns. On the inside the transept terminates with three beautiful apses. Some remarkable works catch the eye at the various altars. In particular, there is an Annunciation from the late sixteenth-century painter Jacopo Chimenti and the altarpieces depicting the Virgin Mercy by Francesco Curradi, one of the greatest leading figures of Florentine Baroque devotional painting. The church holds the relics of the martyr San Faustino, the city’s patron saint.

Wall by Enrico Baj
This 100-metre-long, 3-metre-tall work inaugurated in 2006 is the final work created by pop art master Enrico Baj. It is a wall that describes the city, through the colours of the tiles, a piece of its history, connected to the excellence of its mechanical production.

Museo di Arte Contemporanea a Cielo Aperto
Besides Enrico Baj’s largest work, this municipal initiative displays installations and temporary and permanent works in the piazzas and parks: the benches known as “panchine d’autore”, or La Ragazza in Piedi (The Standing Girl) by Giuliano Vangi, as well as Il Toro (The Bull) by Pietro Cascella and Origine Vespa (Wasp Origin) by Mino Trafeli, and much more.

Museo Piaggio
One of the oldest parts of the Piaggio industrial complex has been a museum since 2000. The exhibition retraces twentieth-century Italy with opportunities to admire the company’s most characteristic products and to consult the many documents kept in the historical archive. It is one of the five most visited company museums in Italy.

Palazzo Pretorio
From a former court to a modern exhibition centre with a bistro café. At the end of the complex restoration and adaptation of the building, Palazzo Pretorio was given back to the city. A cultural stronghold of great strategic and central significance for the city and the territory, it hosts high-level exhibitions of historical prestige.

Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso
It was built between 1270 and 1272 and completely altered in the seventeenth century after it was seriously damaged in a fire. Noteworthy artworks include the Annunziata from the workshop of Nino Pisano and the Madonna of the Rosary among Saints Monica, Domenico and Agostino bishop, a cheerful work by Cigoli.

Teatro Era
The cornerstone of this member of Teatro della Toscana is the history and expertise of the Centro per la Sperimentazione e la Ricerca Teatrale (Centre for Theatre Experimentation and Research) which provides training as well as producing shows and planning and participating in the Festival. The new location, inaugurated in 2008, is an open multi-purpose venue.

Villa Torrigiani Malaspina in Montecastello
Before becoming the villa of the Countess Cristina Malaspina and the Marquis Filippo Torrigiani, it was part of the defence structure for the town of Montecastello. Inside, visitors can admire the eighteenth-century flooring in “Venetian terrazzo” style.

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Food and wine

Wine
The municipality is a stop on the Pisa Hills Wine Trail.

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Crafts

Piaggio
This company, in business since the late nineteenth century, is famous for producing motorbikes and small three- and four-wheeled vehicles. Its name is known especially in connection with the Vespa, a scooter with a tapered shape, created after World War II from an idea of an engineer named D’Ascanio, and the Ape, a three-wheeled vehicle widely used in the countryside throughout Italy.

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Activities for visitors

Laghi Braccini
Behind the old Braccini kiln, an example of industrial archaeology, are three artificial lakes on whose banks you can relax and stroll or sunbathe. One of them is reserved for sport fishing. The largest has a beach set up as a bathing resort.

Pontedera’s “Urban Oasis”
This area of approximately 53 hectares is full of poplars and willows and populated by 43 species of birds.

Parco Dei Salici
This park on the banks of the Arno is perfect for sports or simply for a picnic.

Hiking network
A journey along 63 kilometres to explore the area. The map of the municipality of Pontedera’s hiking network charts nine trails located in and around Pontedera, to travel on foot, by bike or on horseback, and lists the most evocative scenic views along the way.