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figline gaville

Figline is a strategic centre situated on the linear system of settlements of the Upper Valdarno and finds itself on a narrow plain formed by the Arno river, at the foot of the hilly system of the Chianti mountains.

 la piazza marsilio ficino

The plain of the Arno was ideal for hosting new settlements and strengthening the existing ones, thanks to the stream flow regulation and reclamation of the inhospitable, unhealthy valley before the twelfth century due to continuous river floods. Florence encouraged this phenomenon by investing large amounts of capital so as to build walled centres, and Figline is an example of them, with the double purpose of defending the southern borders and agricultural production in the fertile valley of the Arno. In 1252, the new, small town was established and all the inhabitants of the peoples nearby took part in this event and went down to the valley.

The planimetric layout is organized according to two axes corresponding to the four gates. The original road structure has been altered due to subsequent interventions; in fact, the cross connection to Porta Senese, through Vicolo della Bruciatola, has been interrupted and the gate has been blocked.

Within the architectural structure, no significant buildings can be found, as this centre has been mainly geared towards agriculture; the great fifteenth-century complex of CasaGrande Serristori is an exception, a unique example of a palace belonging to Florence’s land-owning nobility, which was originally owned by the DellaForesta family.

However, the formal feature that evocatively characterizes the city of Figline is the almost intact circuit of its fourteenth-century walls. Out of the several rompitratta (section-dividing) towers, twelve are still standing, along the whole perimeter. The Cassero, seat of the Florentine garrison, occupied the western edge of the quadrilateral corresponding to the building that has become the city’s theatre today.

 

Published: 15/7/2014

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