Monsummano Terme

Monsummano Terme is a thermal resort in the northern part of Tuscany, near Florence, Pistoia, Montecatini and Lucca.

Monsummano Terme is a thermal resort in the northern part of Tuscany, near Florence, Pistoia, Montecatini and Lucca. The wonderful natural environment and the ancient historical background of the area allow pleasant walking tours and interesting cultural visits.

Brief history

Monsummano Terme  : San Nicolao Church The hill of Monsummano Alto was fortified at least from XI century with a increased and widened defensive system all over the years comprising in the low Middle Ages all the top of the hill. The first documentary news of the castle of Montesommano dates back to 1005 when it depende from the abbey of Sant' Antimo in Val d' Orcia and it was ceded in part to Ildebrando of the Aldobrandeschi. After several property passages, in the 1218 the castle was sold to the Commune of Lucca, although already from some years the inhabitants of the castle had been delivered up in common rural with own magistracies.
The hill of Monsummano faces up to the Montevettolini one, a village wth medioeval origins, submitted to the Lordship fiorentina too. The castle of Montevettolini was founded around the XIIth century and subordinate to the city of Pistoia in 1227, and it was delivered up in free commune during the XIIIth century becoming a shelter for the spillages fiorentini and lucchesi during the acerrime fights between guelfi and Ghibellines, until it surrendered to Uguccione of the Faggiola after the defeat of the guelfi at Montecatini in 1315.
Montevettolini e Monsummano remained under the dominion of Lucca until the death of Castruccio Castracani, and they joined in 1328 to the Alloy of Valdinievole against Florence, the city to which they had however to submit after having the siege of Gherardino Spinola, new ruler of Lucca. Under the florentine rule the castle of Montevettolini had a fervent and rich life, animated by the activities of the twelve ' confraternite ' of the village, and it became more and more prosperous when the first medicean Grand dukes choose it like a pause-place for hunting, and that favored it regarding to the Castle of Monsummano, which was already on strong decline leaving from the end of the 1300's. The belonging to the Florence district choked back the development of the community of Monsummano, which approached leaving from the end of XIVth century, approached on a progressive forfeiture, also determined by the waters surrounding the lands around the hill and from the consequent road block. The foundation of Monsummano, at the feet of the hill, is tied to the name of granduca the Ferdinand and its architect too. In fact, to continuation of the prodigious events happened at the end of 1500, between which an unexpected gushing of a source on the place of the miraculous image of the Virgin in a tabernacolo, in 1602 the Granduca entrusted architect Mechini of the construction of a great Sanctuary in Madonna of the Fontenuova' s honour.
In 1775 Peter Leopoldo instituted the Community of Two Lands, unifying administratively the territories of Montevettolini, the castle of Monsummano and Monsummano Terme, in continuous expansion. The XIX th century constitutes one other important moment of the history of Monsummano for the presence of two personality of the political and literary world: the poet Giuseppe Giusti (1809-1850), whose native house, with furnishings and decorations of neoclassic taste has been recently restored and transformed in Museum, and Ferdinand MARTINI (1841-1928), literary and political man, whose villa, famous like Renatico Villa, is currently center of extensions and conventions. The discovery of the Thermal Coves dates back to the half of 1800 and they have particular therapeutic properties: natural warm coves, today placed in modern thermal facilities.

The Church of San Nicolao, on the hill of Monsummano Alto, is made up of one nave with truss roofing and a semicircular apse, which is outside hidden by a later building.
Inside, two baroque altars are leaning against the side walls. These church contains some WORKS OF ART.
South of the church bodythere is a quadrangular belfry. Through a barrel-vaulted gallery it leads to a natural terrace overlooking the valley on which the side door of the church also opens.

The house in Monsummano where the poet Giuseppe Giusti was born in 1809 and spent the first years of childhood - in 1815 his family moved to Montecatini - was built between 1791 and 1793 on poet's grandfather initiative. The grandfather Giuseppe was a well-to-do person and he was politically influential with grand duke Pietro Leopoldo's government.
The house was built in the late-rococo style, moderated by sobriety of traditional Tuscan style; the presence of the family coat of arms over the balcony in the center of the front shows the aim of build a house suitable to the family's social position and to the recently conferred title of rank.
The inside wall decoration is ispired at the same criterions, and it is suited to the use of each room: ideal landscapes are framed by a false portico in the entrance on the ground floor, the mythologic subjects and the grotesques are in the vast living-rooms, the sacred themes in the prayer room, the agrestic landscapes in the small sitting rooms and in the anterooms.
Acquired by the State in 1972 and restored, Giusti's House is now gived over as a MUSEUM .

Founded in 1602 by Ferdinando I de' Medici, the Basilica of the Madonna of Fontenuova was built on the site of an ancient tabernacle with the Virgin with Baby and Saints; where it is told that in 1573 a young shepherdess called Jacopa Mariotti, lost her flock while praying, but, calling upon the Virgin, found the reassembled. On the site of the so-called "del Pozzo Vecchio" (the Old Well) a little oratory was built, where on the 7th July 1602, a fountain of water sprang from the rock. The Grand Duke then decreed the building of the temple, which he entrusted to Gherardo Mechini and Domenico Marcacci.
The Basilica, consecrated in 1616, has a latin cross and is surrounded on three sides by a portico, from which we can approach the font, that is decorated by fourteen lunettes painted by Giovanni da San Giovanni and contains many WORKS OF ART.

Monsummano terme Villa MartiniVilla Martini
The Villa was built around 1887 by the architect Vivarelli for the statesman, literary man, journalist Ferdinando Martini, in accordance with the eclectic style typical of the end of the century; it appears as an elegant square block, constructed on two floors, surrounded by a vast park linked up by five staircases.
Inside, there are elegant rooms with coffered ceilings decorated with tondos in polychromatic ceramics.
The surrounding park contains many exemplars of very rare ornamental plants and species as wellingtonias, camphor trees, cedar of Atlas.
The villa was bought by the local authority in 1981 and, after a careful restoration, was opened by the President of the Senate Giovanni Spadolini. The Villa is now gived over as a CULTURAL CENTER .
Via di Gragnano, 59
Tel. +39 572 952140

The medicea villa of Montevettolini is situated on the northern extremity of the hill not much distant from the Pieve of S. Michele Arcangelo, the parsonage and the municipality public square.
The villa was commissioned by Granduca Ferdinando I and its realization was supervised by Gherardo Mechini, who was designeted in May of that same year " Architect of His Royal Highness " and former capomaestro in service of the Granducato since 1581; it was realized between the end of the 6th century and the first twenty years of the 7th century. In the successive period the building didn' t undergo any modifications in its total aspect and maintained its own characters, introducing an imposing and severe appearance, which gave it the aspect of a fortress; it has a white parget with simple stone angolatures and the doors and windows profiles are made with serene-stone, polished and ' bugnato ' ashlers.
It was constructed incorporating some preexisting structures of the defensive system of the village. In fact the Rocca and one of the six towers of the city walls, the Cantone door tower, were annexed to the new construction. These structures were in great part dismantled and part of the material was re-used to realize the new building.
The rocca and the tower were joined by a two-storey construction, plus the ground floor; the first one is completely occupied by an immense hall of representation. The left side of the building, the one in which has been incorporated the tower, is one-floor higher because situated on a rise of the land; on this side, right under the roof gutter, small windows and openings similar to jails are alterned. Along all the perimeter of the palace, at the top floor, there is a rather-regular succession of square windows with stone extensions and small loop-holes below, the same linear rhythm is repeated for the greatest openings of the noble floor, while at the ground floor windows and doors are opened without respecting this scansion.
The fortress aspect of the palace is emphasized from four ' watch-positions ' fortified whith loop-holes and jails too.

The Oratory of the Madonna of the Snow, to which it made head the confraternita one omonima, it was constructed to the end of century XIV and very is conserved because it has been restored more times, and because the montevettolinesi have a special cult for the image of the Madonna who you conserve. Draft, in effects, of a building realized at the beginning of XVII the century, on one preexisting margin.
The altar of the Oratory was cured from the women of the Company of the Immaculate Conception of Montevettolini. The Oratory was widened in 1769. Already in 1718, however, it had been realized the sacrestia with the contribution of the Company of Saint Francisco.
In the Oratory conserve I fresco it of the Madonna with the Child and Saints, work of a master of XV the century attributed to the school of Kind from Fabriano.

Monsummano Alto
Monsummano Alto  The hill of MonsummanoThe hill of Monsummano rises 340 meters above sea-level at the northern foot of Montalbano.
Today some ruins of the ancient castle, surrounded by a two-kilometer long, elliptic circle of walls, as well as two of three doors still remain: the north-west door of "Nostra Donna" (Our Lady) and the so-called "Porta del Mercato"(Market Door) or "Porticciola" (Little Door). The latter is almost intact and faces the hill of Montevettolini. At the end of the walls a solid, pentagonal tower is still standing. It dates back to the beginning of the 14th Century and it is one of the most imposing towers in the province.
The CHURCH OF SAN NICOLAO is the best preserved building in the village. It was built over-looking the ancient platea communis in the 11th Century.
On the northern side there is the ancient Church of San Sebastiano. In front of it the foundations of two buildings and fragments of ceramic from various ages were found during recent excavation. On the western side there are ruins of a convent almost hidden by the undergrowth surrounding the heart of the castle, and on the eastern side ruins of the ancient Spedale di San Bartolomeo (Hospital) appear next to the tower.

Monsummano Alto  The hill of MonsummanoNella sua forma attuale l'impianto della torre, restaurato in parte nel primo Novecento, è databile agli inizi del XIV secolo. L'edificio meglio conservato del borgo è la chiesa di San Nicolao, prospiciente l'antica platea communis, fondata nell'XI secolo e compresa, nel plebato di Neure (o de Montecatino), entro la diocesi medievale di Lucca. La chiesa, che nella sua forma attuale risale ai primi decenni del XIII secolo, ha un impianto sobrio e austero, ad una sola navata con presbiterio soprelevato, copertura a capriate ed abside semicircolare, nascosta all'esterno da una costruzione più tarda. La muratura è in pietra a vista e la facciata presenta in alto segni di rimaneggiamenti successivi. Da una gradinata si accede al portale centrale d'ingresso, inquadrato da massicci stipiti e architrave, sul quale si imposta l'arco a sesto acuto della lunetta. In alto, appena sotto gli spioventi del tetto, si apre un piccolo oculo centrale. All'interno due altari barocchi sono addossati, l'uno di fronte all'altro, alle pareti laterali dell'aula. All'altare di sinistra la pregevole Annunciazione seicentesca di scuola toscana appare purtroppo in pessimo stato di conservazione, così come le formelle con Scene della Vita di Cristo e di Maria, legate ai misteri del Rosario, che inquadrano, sull'altare di fronte, la nicchia contenente la statua della Vergine. L'opera più interessante che si conserva nella chiesa è il grande Crocifisso ligneo, databile tra il XIV e il XV secolo, che sovrasta la navata dal centro del presbiterio, in una teca posta sopra l'altare maggiore. Il corpo della chiesa è affiancato a sud dal campanile quadrangolare, di impianto più tardo, impostato su di un arco a tutto sesto, che dà accesso, da una galleria voltata a botte, ad una terrazza naturale affacciata sulla valle, dove si apre la porta laterale della chiesa. In questo spazio si trova, a nord, l'antica chiesa di San Sebastiano, di fronte alla quale recenti scavi hanno portato alla luce le fondamenta di due edifici, dove sono stati rinvenuti frammenti di ceramica di varie epoche. Seminascosti dalla boscaglia che circonda il nucleo centrale del castello si conservano ad ovest i resti di un convento e nella zona orientale, nei pressi della torre, i ruderi dell'antico Spedale di San Bartolomeo.

Montevettolini At the north western foot of Montalbano the borough of Montevettolini rises, at 187 mt. above sea-level. It was founded on the top of the hill around the 12th century.
The Medicis chose Montevettolini as their rest place for hunting and at the end of the 16th century Ferdinando I entrusted Gherardo Mechini and Domenico Marcacci to build the imposing villa, today known as Borghese, at the western end of the surrounding walls.
Ruins of the surrounding walls ando of one of the six castle defence towers, the so-called "Torre dello Sprone" or "Torre delle Murina" can be seen to the West of the built-up area. The entrance to the village consisted of the tree following gates: the so-called "Porta del Cantone", which was incorporated into the Medicean villa, and the "Porta del Vicino" or "del Malvicino", later called "Porta dei Barbacci", the only one which is still undamaged.
In the borough there were the oratory of San Francesco to the West of the church, and that of Corpus Domini built in Bargellini's square, which today is the seat of the local Music Society, founded in 1863.
The thirteenth-century Town Hall still shows the podestas' coats of arms hanging on the facade, and it incorporates an ancient guard tower to the right. A medieval tower was used as a church blefry as well, which was built in the 15th century in the place of the older one, which had been incorporated inside the ecclesiastic building. A chapel dedicated to San Michele, belonging to "San Giovanni Battista" and "San Lorenzo a Vaiano" 's parish church, had risen in the place of the church since the 12th century. It was enlarged over the centuries, then it was raised to parish after the wuppression of the parish of Vaiano in 1449, when it was dedicated to San Lorenzo, too.
MontevettoliniThe present aspect of the building is due to Vittorio Anastagi's eighteenth century restructuring: the interior contains the polychrome marble high altar by "Bartolomeo Moisé da Seravezza", the stucco decoration and the frescos signed by Felice Balsan in 1740. The church contains many WORKS OF ART.
Trekking paths branch from Montevettolini, along the ways connecting the castles of Valdinievole and Montalbano.
The oratory of the "Madonna della Neve" (Madonna of the Snow) rises to the East of the village. It contains the fifteenth-century fresco showing the Madonna with Child and Saints. Every year, in August, the "Feast of the Madonna of the Snow" takes places here.
At Montevettolini the following typical public happenings are worth mentioning: the "Feast of the Cake" in April and the "Fierucola", a biological product fair, in June. Every three years, on the Good Friday, the famous "Processione del Gesù Morto" (Procession of Dead Christ) takes place. It dates back to the sixteenth century and it runs again through the Christ's passion Cross Stations along His Way up to the Calvary with hundreds of costume-figurants. Another procession in costume, known as "del Ringraziamento" (of Thanksgiving) takes place on the Tuesday after Easter.

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