Rocca of Lari
Lari can be reach from the Speedway Florence-Leghorn going out toward Ponsacco from which is around ten kilometers far.
The castle of Lari rise in strategical position that allow the control on the Pisane Hills and had a role of big relief during the numerous medieval wars between Pisa and Florence, that upset this zone. Varied archaeological recoveries testify that the site was inhabited since the Etruscan era but the first official document inherent the existence of the castle is dated 1067. During the 12th century we find Lari submitted to Pisa and in 1164 the castle rebelled to this dominion. Pisa didn't appreciate the initiative of the Larigianis and few months later penetrated in the area with a strong army and regained the castle, bringing to it serious damages. In the following century the castle, reconstructed, became fief of the family of the Uppezzinghi that, due to the contrasts with the Pisane authorities, withdrawn in the hills. But Pisa didn't give up this strategically important stronghold and in the 1289 Lari was reoccupied and from that year provided of a substantial permanent garrison.
In 1406, year of the definitive subjugation of Pisa to Florence, Lari and the whole zone of the hills passed under the Florentine hegemony. The castle became residence of the Vicar at head of other twenty-six communities of the outskirts. In 1431 the Pisane army, led by Niccolò Piccinino, regained the castle but two years after Lari become Florentine again. In 1494 the population rose up and, chased the Vicar, the Podesta (medieval term for chief magistrate or governor) and the Florentine garrison, declared fidelity to Pisa after it also rebelled to Florence. The reaction was immediate: in the winter of 1495 the army of the Florentine Republic was again in the castle and the 30 June of the following year withstand to a new Pisane attempt to regain the castle. Afterwards was initialed an accord of peace between the two cities and the zone lived a period of relative peace. In 1523 the Florentine Vicar completed a vast work of restoration and expansion of the castle transforming it in the actual bastioned fortress.
Besides the fortress, that dominates the inhabited area
from the vertex of the hill, Lari is still surrounded by ample rests of
the town walls gifted of two gates: the Florentine gate, with coats of
arms in stone of the Medici, Salviati and of the city of Lari and the
Pisana gate, also called Maremmana. The third original gate, today demolished,
was the Volterrana gate, once provided of drawbridge. Inside the walls
we enter another gate gifted of an ample stairway that leads to the fortress.
In the inner ward of the fortification, surrounded with tall bastioned
walls built in bricks, stand out principally the 'Praetorian Palace' with
the facade still covered with many coats of arms of the Podestas that
were in Lari. In the courtyard there are also an ancient cistern and a
chapel. The complex was turned to jail up to the second world war during
which suffered serious damages by the Germans and Allied bombardments.