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Una veduta del borgo di Vicopisano, Pisa. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Vicopisano: a village fortified by Brunelleschi

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This town is an interesting stage between Pisa and Lucca. Vicopisano is a beautiful fortified village located at the foot of Monte Pisano (Monte Serra) about 20 km from Pisa and 30 km from Lucca.


Vicopisano is mentioned in historical documents starting from the 10th century when it was called Vici Auseris Sala and then Vico Auserissola. Initially the town was subject to the authority of the bishop of Pisa, later it became a municipality allied with the Pisan Republic.

During the 12th-14th centuries Vicopisano was the scene of epic conflicts between the troops of Pisa and Florence. In 1407, after 7 months of siege, the city fell into the hands of Florence. After the conquest by Florence, the Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed and restructured the fortifications of the village, also building the Rocca Nuova or Rocca del Brunelleschi.

In 1494 Vicopisano rebelled against the Florentine dominion and was once again placed under siege, in 1498 it was again reconquered by the Florentine troops, who occupied it until 1502, in this year there was a new rebellion, but in 1503 Vicopisano again under the control of Florence. During the Florentine government Vicopisano became the seat of a vicariate.


The village is very beautiful and still retains most of its ancient fortifications and is one of the best examples of 14th-century military architecture in Tuscany. In the village, the Rocca, the fortifications, the towers and the walls designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, and the 14th century Palazzo Pretorio are worth a visit. Among the fortification works, 12 medieval towers erected between the 11th and 15th centuries are visible. The most impressive is the Torre del Mastio which is located at the highest point of the town and is 31 meters high.

Outside the walls is the Romanesque church of Santa Maria and San Giovanni Battista dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries, inside, with three naves, there are some 12th century frescoes and a group of 12th-13th century wooden sculptures depicting the Deposition. About 1 km from Vicopisano are the two Romanesque churches of San Jacopo a Lupeta and Sant’Andrea Apostolo a Cucigliana. In the surroundings there are also the imposing remains of the Rocca della Verruca, from the XIII-XVI century, and of the ancient monastery of San Michele alla Verruca from the X century.


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