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Description

The “new land” of Santa Croce sull’Arno was surrounded by the foundation in 1253, under the rule of Lucca, from a ‘rectangle’ of walls with two doors and relative towers: Porta Fiorentina and Porta Pisana, the door and the Royal tower were added to a second time when the director of the Via Nuova (now Via del Bosco) reached Piazza Matteotti, known as the Prato dei Fossi. In 1289 the mayor of Santa Croce, Ser Gherardo Manni of Lucca, received from Oringa Menabuoi, the future Blessed Christian, the request to build a habitable building near the castle wall up to the monastery’s house on the ground. The walls were largely landed by the terrible flood of the Arno in 1333 when Santa Croce had been subjected to Florence.

This was the period of greatest urban and territorial growth. The situation worsened when Florence subjected Pisa in 1406 and Santa Croce lost the strategic importance of the previous century, aggravated by the decrease in demographic consistency, also due to the plague of 1348 and the consequent famines. The walls and many towers became the object of supplying building materials for houses and roads.
An important development, both inhabited and economic, occurred only in the eighteenth century, but above all in the following century, thanks to the birth of the first leather tanneries.

Today, Santa Croce sull’Arno is the main center of the Santa Croce Tanning District characterized by being the only one comprehensive the entire production chain of leather: from leather tanning to the finished footwear or leather goods.
Santa Croce sull’Arno lies on the right bank of the Arno; in the surroundings there is the hilly area of the Cerbaie, the protected area of Poggio Adorno, destination for pleasant walks.

 

 

 

Information
Pro Loco
Piazza Matteotti, 41
56029 Santa Croce sull’Arno
t. +39 0571 31101
www.prolocosantacroce.it

Geographical area
Valdarno Inferiore

Population
over 14.000

Distance from Pisa
40 km

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Culture

Church of Santa Cristiana
Before the church stood here, there was an oratory dedicated to San Jacopo, built in the thirteenth century. When the saint’s body was brought there, the ceiling of the central vault was decorated with a fresco by Anton Domenico Bamberini. Important works inside include a canvas depicting the Madonna of the Girdle and an altarpiece with Christ Resurrected among the Saints dating to the second half of the sixteenth century.

Collegiata di San Lorenzo
This collegiate church dates back to the thirteenth century but was rebuilt after World War II. It has a Christ on the Cross, a wooden sculpture created after the Holy Face of Lucca, a sculpture of the Virgin Annunciate and a glazed terracotta Angel. The beautiful Virgin Annunciate is of particular significance. It is a wooden artefact from the late fourteenth century showing Saint Lawrence.

Teatro Verdi
The theatre was built in 1902. It was designed by Michelangelo Majorfi, with three tiers of boxes and ornate decorations in stucco. With its three hundred seats, it offers a busy season of various initiatives, projects, courses, workshops, exhibitions and productions.

Villa Pacchiani
The villa, built at the end of the eighteenth century, has been home to a cultural and artistic centre since its opening in 1991. The centre has established itself as a dynamic and functional structure with national appeal, as well as being of undisputed importance locally.

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Food and wine

Amaretto Santacrocese
Amaretto Santacrocese was created at the end of the nineteenth century in the Augustinian monastery of Santa Cristiana. Novices entered the monastery with a dowry of almonds, perhaps because the “mother house” of this monastery was in the Duchy of Parma, a city famous for its almond products. Between the two world wars the production of amaretti increased; the nuns used it to ask for alms. Later, after the war, the secret of the recipe was given to the owner of a cafe located in front of the monastery. From then on, the recipe was no longer a convent secret, but become a customary presence on the tables of the residents of Santa Croce and beyond.

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

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Crafts

Leather district
The name and the prestige of the leather produced in Santa Croce has earned the town the nickname World Capital of Leather and Hides. Although the creativity and quality is the same, today the leather is worked – unlike in years past – with technologically advanced machinery and processes that have improved the work environment and created specialized professionals.

Plant-based tanning
This ancient process, which uses natural tannins and cutting-edge technology, is carried out by hand and has been passed down from generation to generation. Vegetable tanning shows the signs of aging, which is what demonstrates that it is natural.

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Activities for visitors

Cerretti Trail
The itinerary takes about 2 hours and 47 minutes. It is of medium difficulty, and crosses Cerretti and passes near the Montefalcone reserve.