Rocca and Town Walls of Vicopisano

How to reach

Coming from Florence and taking the speedway that connects the cities of Florence-Pisa-Leghorn (FI-PI-LI), choose the exit "Pontedera-Ponsacco" and then follow the road SS67 towards Fornacette, following the indications that Vicopisano is about 3 km from this town. You can also travel on the motorway A11, exit at 'Altopascio' and following the indications leading to Bientina first and Vicopisano then.


Probably there was an Etruscan settlement on the spot where the town of Vicopisano rises today. Undoubtedly, this area went through a period of great growth during the 10th century, and the former 'vicus' (which in ancient Latin means 'undefended place') changed into 'castellus', an inhabited area sheltered by fortifications and the center of various activities. In the beginning, the town was subjected to the Episcopal authority of Pisa. During the 12th century, Vicopisano became an important stronghold of the military defensive organization of the Republic of Pisa. In 1406, the town fell under Florentine rule.

Due to its strategic location, Vicopisano was strongly fortified by the Florentines as well, who charged the great architect Filippo Brunelleschi to design its reconstruction. From then on, the town became the domain of Florence, which was aware of its importance and let it become the seat of a vicariate. Afterwards, 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.

Fortunately, there are still well-preserved testimonies of such an important past in the town that deserve to be visited carefully, especially during the 'Medieval Festival' that takes place in september. Inside the town, a series of lanes arouses fine and evocative sights that one may discover simply by going for a walk. Besides these minor beauties, the town offers proper rarities to its visitors, such as the mighty fortified complex of the Rocca, crowning the hill on which the town lies, and circuit walls and towers of the 15th century.

The Rocca is linked by a massive wal l— the Camminamento and the Torre del Soccorso — with the 'Brunelleschi tower' and the town walls that are placed at its foot. This kind of fortification is rare and one of the best examples of military architecture in the Tuscany of the 1400s. Other towers belonging to various ages are still rising all along the town streets; the most famous of those is the 'Four Gate Tower'. The fortress is open to the public and has been recently restored.

In September 2021, work was completed on the restoration, functional recovery, and securing of the Camminamento and the Torre del Soccorso, which are once again accessible for guided tours. The recovery has a history of about ten years that began with the recovery of the ancient walls, 6 towers, and 2 other private towers. The work marks the crowning achievement of a programme aimed at rediscovering and enhancing Vicopisano's historical and environmental heritage, promoting all forms of synergy and collaboration with both institutional and private entities.

More info & notes

The imposing monumental complex of the Rocca del Brunelleschi is open to visitors every weekend from the Pisan New Year, celebrated on March 25 according to the Pisan calendar, until the end of November. From December to March it is open every second Sunday of the month (on the occasion of the Collecting Market) with the following hours:

  • saturday from 15.30 to 19.00;
  • sunday from 10 to 12.30 and from 15.30 to 19.00

Groups can book guided tours of the monumental complex and the town of Vicopisano at any time of the year by calling the Tourist Office on +39 050 796581.
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