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Fucecchio is the ideal place to start discovering the major cities in Tuscany. On the way to the beauties of Florence, Pisa, Lucca or Pistoia, it is also possible to go along with itineraries of great tourist value.
Empoli and Montalbano, the beautiful land of Leonardo da Vinci, nestled in a hilly landscape with harbor villages and historic villas of great interest.
Valdelsa, a fertile valley that produces high quality wine and oil, home to illustrious men like Boccaccio.
The Valdarno Pisano, with its verdant hills and marshy waters that contrast with the modern developments of the flat areas.
The countryside of Lucca, the city of the ancient walls and the beautiful Ilaria, along the route of Via Francigena.
Montecatini and Valdinievole, with its hills covered with olive groves where nests of thermal spas and medieval villages are intact.
The territory of Fucechio country is very particular and varied.
Nearly two third of communal territory are included in the Cerbaie, low hills with a very gentle outline from the basin of former marsching land of Bientina in Fucecchio. From Ponte a Cappiano through Ramoni street we reach the village of Torre, the ancient Ultrario (beside the stream), the first informations about this place and its S. Gegorio church are from the XIth century.
After Torre along via Ramoni there is Massarella, the ancient Massarella Piscatoria (from Masarella-many farms-and Piscatoria-fishing).Its parish church from the XVIIth century is called S. Mary and with this name it already appears in a diploma from 998 by emperor Otto III. From the surroundings of Massarella there are beautiful views of the Padule.
Followings Padule we reach Querce a village with S. Nazario church from the IXth century. It was originally in a secluded place where now is a small building called ''cellina'' built in the place wheer the Virgin appeared in XVIth century.
Another village along the Via Francigena is Galleno which developed thnks to the pilgrims. Beside the parish church from the XVIIth century there is an ancient road, among woods and fields, which corresponds to the ancient Via Francigena, before it was devisted in more recent times.
The town centre
The Salamartano hill, which is the religious centre, offers a beautiful view of the Valdarno Inferiore from the plain with many villages to the hills of Le Cerbaie, until Serra mountain and the Apuan Alps. Here lies San Salvatore church and abbey and the Collegiate church Saint John the Baptist, here built during the XIIth century, but completely restored end enlarged between the XVIth and the XVIIIth century. Beside San Salvatore church there is the "Sala del Poggio" (Hill lounge), previously called Chapel of Mercy, now used as auditorium for meetings and conferences.
By the Salamartano hill lies Vittorio Veneto square, the ancient large square, which was the link between the religious and the civic centre of the village. From here, through a stone ramp, it is possible to reach the "Corsini Complex", which includes the palace, the ancient farm and the fortress with a large park from the XIVth century. In the south part of Vittorio Veneto square there is the Podestà Palace or Palazzo Pretorio. After a short stretch in Via San Giovanni there is Palazzo Montanelli della Volta, another example of civic building from the medieval time, which has been strongly modified during the centuries.
The "mountain" or "poggio" Salamartano already appears in documents from the eleventh century, in which there are descriptions of the hill by the Cadolingi's castle of Salamarzana. In 1106 it was given to the Abbot of San Salvatore church in order to build a new monastery, destroyed by a flood of the Arno river. In the same period also Saint John church was built, before only a baptistimal font in charge of the abbots. After some time the hill was surrounded by walls and used as cemetery. In 1984 it was paved with bricks. On the floor there are four small marble spots which show the space occupied by a medieval house (XII century); its remains, discovered in 1984, are in the Communal museum.
This complex in the town centre was called Salamarzana Castle during the Middle Age and from here Counts Cadolingi could control the ford and the bridge over the Arno along the Via Francigena. The area includes the medieval towers, the park (about 4 hectares) and some buildings with common spaces.
The main building of the previous Corsini farm appears today as it was structured during the XVth and XVIth century and it is directly linked to the park and the fortress. Until the XVth century the palace and the fortress were two separate buildings, the second one was probably the seat of Salamarzana castle, belonging to the Cadolingis from the XIth century, later seat of the donjon, as documents of the communal period (XIIth and XIIIth century) testify. About in 1330 the fortifIcations were restored according to the will of the Florentine authorities. In that period the farm's palace was actually the house belonging to the Rosselminis, a very powerful family which possessed the palace and some houses, all opening onto a cloister communicating with an old castle's gate.
At the beginning of the XVth century , when some Florentine families became the owners of the buildings and the fortifications, the two areas were united. In 1460 the palace, was bought by Giovanni Cosimo dei Medici's son, then it passed to Lorenzo and finally to the hospital of Altopascio. During the Medicis' period the building was restored and got its actual shape. The fortified area had lost its strategic function and was used as foodstaff store. Marquises Corsini bought the estate in 1643, and the fortress in 1864 from the local administration. The cycle ended in 1981 when the local administration bought the whole complex again.
The building has three floors and in the last one there is an elegant ''loggetta'' with brick columns above the original front. The palace al so included one of the gates opening onto Niccolini square (la piazzetta) and leading to the main ''villages''.
As the palace was originally made of two bodies unitied in the XVth century, traces of the medieval buildings are still clear: in the first floor a decorated brick arch in the north side, a fragment of a fresco from the XIVth-XVth century and some paintings (landscapes, frames) by Stefano Fabbrini from the first part of the XVIIth century. Two wings of the building were previously used far the estate, now they house the Library, the Historical Archives and part of the Museum.
The Medicean bridge in Cappiano
The first information about a bridge in Ponte a Cappiano are from the Middle Age when the Via Francigena, after reaching the woods of Le Cerbaie crossed the Arme or Gusciana river, effluent of the Padule di Fucecchio. It was a fortified bridge with a fish weir and a mill and it was the centre of many battles between Lucca and Florence at the beginning of the XIVth century. From the beginning of the XVth century it was used by the Republic of Florence as lock to regulate the water flow of the Padule and to form the so-called "new lake" that gave a lot of fish to the Florentines.
The bridge was rebuilt in 1550 under Cosimo I de' Medici by a very prestigious staff, among which the "water engineer" David Fortini and Niccolò Pericoli, called Tribolo, sculptor and architect. Cosimo himself partecipated to the planning of the bridge, a very particular and multipurpose building with a fortified bridge with two towers, openings (calle) for the passage of the boats along the Usciana river and for lowering the nets to fish eel, a weir to control the water level of the Padule and of the "new lake", a "machine" for the utilization of water's motive power for a mill and ironwoks beside the bridge. Beside all these functions the building also had a palace with the administration of the Medici's estate, created in the XVIth century and sold by the Grand Duke only at the end of the XVIIIth century according a reforms' plan.
Montanelli Bassi Foundation
Promoted by Indro Montanelli in 1987 with the aim of preserving, improving and extending the heritage of the library, the foundation also fosters researches about history, traditions and culture in Fucecchio and its territory, calls for study grants, supports activities far the safeguard of the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of Fucecchio (Padule di Fucecchio and area of Le Cerbaie).
Inside it is possible to follow Indro Montanelli's journalistic activity with the complete collection of the newspapers "La Voce" and "il Giornale" and the prizes he has received during his career.
In the auditorium there is a permanent exhibition of original drawings and watercolours by Arturo Checchi from the first part of his career (1908-1931).
After Indro Montanelli's death (22th of July 2001), his "rooms" of Milan and Rome were transferred inside the Foundation.
The Foundation is opened on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. and you can visit.
Typical wine and food products
Fucecchio is in the Province of Florence and in particular in the territorial district of Circondario Empolese Valdelsa. This area is a rich container of recipes from the Tuscan farm kitchens. The restaurants, wine cellars and inns offer local products certified DOP and IGP. The Municipality of Fucecchio is organizing a lot of events linked with the promotion of enogastronomical rural productions and traditional dishes, because typical products protection is linked to the revaluation of the land from different points of vue: agricolture, commerce and tourism. There are many traditional products that can still be found on local tables and enjoyed in the shops and typical restaurants, along with the fascinating crafts.
- Zuppa di pane di Fucecchio: traditional soup
- Fegatelli fucecchiesi: ancient dish of pork liver with fennel
- Extravirgin olive oil
- Schiacciata di Pasqua fucecchiese: cake invented in the late 19th century
- Brutti Buoni ai pinoli: sweet buiscuits
- Zuccherini di Fucecchio: since the 19th century it has been the Mardigras sweet of Fucecchio
- Vino Salamartano
- Montellori Brut
- Vin Santo Bianco
- Caffè i Due Mori
- Herbs from the Padule
Environment and nature
The natural and environmental heritage of Fucecchio
Not only architecture and arts: Fucecchio is located in a spectacular natural environment. The most important place is the Natural Reserve Of the Fucecchio Marsh, which extends for 1800 hectares between the provinces of Florence and Pistoia. Almost 230 hectares are protected by the Natural Reserve to safeguard fauna and flora in the area. The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) has a branch office here. The marsh is one of the best places for birdwatching.It is a major waypoint for migratory birds and is located in the middle of the coast and the inner mountains. Here we can observe more than 190 different species of birds: from the white cygnet which recently returned to Tuscany after 300 years. The flora is particularly delicate and thrives in the special weather of Fucecchio, which is mild and never too cold. The local Chiusi Forest, and the smaller swamps of Ramone, are also interesting from a naturalistic point of view, with many rare plants. The Padule and the wild surroundings of Fucecchio can be visited with the experts from the local Research Facility of the Marchland.
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