Salamarzana Castle - Rocca Fiorentina - Fucecchio

How to reach

The town of Fucecchio is reachable following the motorway FI-PI-LI, it is located 7 kilometres away from the 'Empoli Ovest' exit.


The origin of this settlement is obscure. Leaving out the legends that want the village founded by a community of Greek exiles that up streamed the river Arno, the area was sure inhabited since the Etruscan before and Roman age then, but of this period there are not important historical testimonies, only some small archaeological discoveries near Ponte a Cappiano. The first sources that mention Fucecchio go back to 10th century and is thanks to these, in which is written about a 'New Village of Fucecchio' that we have a confirmation of its ancient history. The name that the main public square still bears today is the one of the ancient castle, Salamarzana, and derives from the ancient cult of the God Mars ['Sala Marzana' means ' Mars Court'].

The Rocca Fiorentina, that today rises on the rests of the ancient Salamarzana Castle, dominates the historical center of the town on a hill from where, in feudal times, the Cadolingi [family of Longbeards origin, builders of the most ancient fortifications and lords of the country until 1113], controlled the underlying ford and bridge [at that time in timber, the 'Bonfiglio' Bridge] where the Francigena Road cross the Arno. The entire complex is today enclosed in the area of the 'Parco Corsini'.

The fortified area is dominated by the towers of the Rocca Fiorentina erected in 1322, during the war against Castruccio Castracani, lord of Lucca, with the aim to guarantee the fidelity of the Guelph part of the Valdarno, allied with Florence.

The imposing construction is constituted by two great towers, the 'Torre Grossa' and the 'Torre di Mezzo', and from another smaller (called Pagliaiola), encircled by a double curtain wall equipped with some flanking towers and other fortifications (like a Barbican) nearby the main Gates. Today the complex is in ruin for the bombardments endured during the second world war.

The 'Torre Grossa' rises on the place of the previous city-state age keep (still today the base in stone differs from the bricks of the rest of the construction) dated back to 12-13th century and built up on the ruins of the most ancient tower of the castle of Salamarzana (11th century ).

Controlled by a garrison at the orders of the dominant city, it had also the purpose to repress the anti-florentine ferments frequently manifested in the course of the 1300's. The towers were used also to communicate with the near castles using fire and smoke signals.

Destined to military uses until the 14th century, the Rocca lost the original strategic importance at the beginning of 15th century when Florence, conquered Pisa, consolidated the western borders, attesting its stronghold against Lucca between Montecarlo and Altopascio. The Rocca, also remaining a property of Florence, was entrusted to the Municipality of Fucecchio becoming a dependence of the adjacent 'palagio', built up on the most ancient castle walls. This palace conserves inside traces of the previous medieval constructions.

Since the 1460 the Palace become the administrative center of a great farm of Medicean property. The fortified area, lost every strategic interest, was used like warehouse of agricultural commodities. In the 1643 the farm was acquired by Marquises Corsini, that in 1864 become also owners of the Rocca. In 1981 the Municipality repurchased the entire complex, then restored and destined it to public use (museum of the city, park, library, the historical archives, social services). Freely visible.