San Casciano Val di Pesa
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The history of San Casciano Val di Pesa

San Casciano: its place in history

San Casciano Val di Pesa
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San Casciano Val di Pesa

La Storia Casciano

Museum of Sacred Art

Villa Le Corti

Villa Torselli

The history San Casciano in Val di Pesa

The toponym "Decimo", as in San Casciano a Decimo and which is still linked to the parish church of Santa Cecilia, near San Casciano, is the memory of a military mile stone (decimum lapidem) of an important Roman road, perhaps the one that was to unite the colonies of Florentia and Sena Julia. Archaeological finds and toponymic stratification attest to the antiquity of the settlement, the density of which seems to be confirmed by the presence on the territory of four parish churches (pievi) (in addition to Decimo, San Pancrazio, Sugana and Campoli) and a large number of churches that depended on them, relating to the various "popoli". This dense population, which today distinguishes the landscape of the countryside around San Casciano, was certainly already in place in the Middle Ages, initially supported by the numerous castles that are documented there as fiefdoms to the Florentine episcopate or to powerful factions, such as the Buondelmonti and Cavalcanti, and which today appear to have been transformed into villa-farms (Bibbione, Castelvecchio, Fabbrica, Lilliano, Monteridolfi, Montepaldi, Pergolato and others) or downgraded to rural residences (Argiano, Castelbonsi, Montauto, Monteclavi, Montecampolesi, Montefolchi, etc). The growth in agricultural productivity linked to the introduction of sharecropping was decisive in accentuating the spread of scattered settlements and the formation of trading centres, such as Mercatale and the castle of San Casciano "a Decimo" which assumed the characters of large "terra murata", equipped with strong defenses immediately after the mid-14 C, still widely visible today. San Casciano is initially remembered as a fief of the bishop of Florence but later, starting from the second half of the 13 C, it appears directly subject to the lordship of the Florence. Shortly afterwards it became the capital of a League and therefore of a Podestą which also included the League of Campoli, for a total of over forty "popoli". Moreover, the importance reached by San Casciano is such that, in the Statute of the Podestą of the Municipality of Florence of 1325, one of the main roads that leave the city is called "strada per quam itur ad Sanctum Cassianum", which is the one that leads "versus civitatem Senarum et versus romanam Curiam". That San Casciano was then intimately linked to the road network is shown by its own urban form, originating from a crossroads: the one mentioned and another that, with a prevalent ridge trend, ran through the hills to the east of the Pesa, from Chianti to Montelupo, on the Arno.

San Casciano retains sections of its mediaeval past in the 14 C walls, with some towers and one of the gates, near which is the church of Santa Maria al Prato, with 16 C additions and numerous works of art, including a crucifix by Simone Martini, as well as the other churches (Collegiata, Santa Maria del Gesł, San Francesco), which  stand out more than for their architectural value than ​​their works of art. In the countryside, theese parish churches retain important structures: proto-Romanesque in San Pancrazio, of full Romanesque maturity in Campoli and in Decimo, albeit partially disguised under baroque decorations, late-Romanesque in Sugana, where there is also a rare 12 C stoup. Still other churches are of architectural interest, such as the Romanesque church of Sant 'Andrea in Luiano and the Gothic churches of Santa Maria in Bibbione, which belonged to an Augustinian convent, or of Sant' Angelo a Vico l'Abate, where there is a table by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. The other noteworthy churches include Santa Maria in Argiano, San Martino in Argiano, Santa Maria in Monte Macerata, San Pietro in Montepaldi, San Bartolomeo in Filtignano, Santa Cristina in Montefiridolfi, Santa Maria di Casavecchia. Many villas share the countryside of San Casciano in the immediate surroundings of Florence, among them being Guicciardini, I Tattoli, Villa le Corti, Villa Borromeo and Villa Casarotta.

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