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Description

Santa Maria a Monte, founded by Lucca between the Cerbaie hills and the Arno, was the first military outpost in the Valdarno, and so Florence, Lucca and Pisa contended for domain over it, until, in 1327, it was forced to yield to the Florentine siege. In those years the town underwent profound changes. The castle was reinforced through the construction of the Rocca (fortress), and today we can still make out, on the walls of the houses, the remains of medieval buildings: arches, hidden walls, curtain walls, false windows. Worthy of note is the Palazzo del Podestà with its adjacent Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower) and the Pieve Collegiata church. Inside are a pulpit from Lucca dating from the thirteenth century, a fifteenth-century baptismal font by Domenico Rosselli, the 1255 wooden Madonna with child attributed to a student of Giotto and the crucifix realized by the Camaiore Master and datable to the mid-fourteenth century.
Santa Maria a Monte was the birthplace Galileo Galilei’s father Vincenzo, a distinguished composer and lute player. The family of the poet Giosuè Carducci lived in Santa Maria, where his father was a rural doctor. Every year on Easter Monday, the Processione delle Paniere (procession of the baskets) winds its way through the town. At this festival, girls carry a basket of flowers on their heads in honour of the Blessed Diana Giuntini, a wealthy fourteenth-century lady who gave up her belongings to live in poverty.
The municipality has a very unusual urban structure. The old city centre is one of the most interesting examples of a medieval Tuscan village, with a spiral shape that quite faithfully reflects the three circles of walls that surrounded the castle in ancient times.



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Information
Museo Casa Carducci
Via Carducci, 29
56020 Santa Maria a Monte
t. + 39 0587 261632
www.comune.santamariaamonte.pi.it

Geographical area
Valdarno Inferiore

Population
over 13.000

Distance from Pisa
30 km