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Vicopisano, Pisa

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Vicopisano - PIVicopisano is a small medieval town in the province of Pisa (18 km far from Pisa) that lies between the mountains and the Arno River. Not enough known, has instead an ancient history and is rich in monuments and enchanting landscapes.
Vicopisano has indeed a well preserved medieval heritage: twelve towers (11th to 15th century), two medieval buildings and the Rocca del Brunelleschi fortress, opened to the public for guided tours.

Vicopisano is easy to reach: take the speedway that connects Florence-Pisa-Livorno (the so called "FI-PI-LI") and exit  "Pontedera-Ponsacco" and then follow the road for "Fornacette" and the indications for "Vicopisano".

The origins of Vicopisano date back to Etruscan age. It seems that the construction of the Castello by Marquis Obertenghi is dated I century DC. The castle was built to protect the traffics developed through the Arno River that connected Pisa and Lucca to the sea.
This is the reason why, beginning from the twelfth century, many noble and aristocratic families established their residence in Vicopisano: the tower-houses and the many churches were built in this period.
In 1230 the town became the site of Captains of the Republic of Pisa and represented an important stronghold of the military defensive organization.
In 1406  the town fell under Florentines rule. The town was fortified again by the Florentines following the design by Filippo Brunelleschi, who left an indelible mark on building the New Fortress (called Rocca del Brunelleschi, 1434-1438), wich is now one of the most important monuments to see in Vicopisano.

The Rocca is linked by a massive wale with the 'Brunelleschi tower' and the town walls that is placed at its foot. This kind of fortification is a rare and one of the best examples of military architecture in the Tuscany of the 1400th. Other towers belonging to various ages still rising all along the town streets, the most famous of those is the Torre delle quattro porte ("Four gate tower"). The fortress is a private property open to the public and has been recently restored. 
 
The history of Vicopisano is connected with the power of the Medici, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany of Lorraine and the passage of the Napoleonic army (to see the Tree of Liberty in its main square).
The changing of the political conditions as well as the removal of the boundary-walls from the river Arno during the 16th century, let Vicopisano slowly change into an agricultural center.
The world wars have fortunately saved all the ancient buildings so today is therefore possible to admire their original beauty.

The best way to appreciate Vicopisano is during a recurrent event named "Festa medievale" ("Medieval Festival") which takes place every year in the first week of September.

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