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Montecatini Alto

Montecatini Alto was a castle of romanesque origin , 299 meters of altitude, that in the past time was the seat of the municipality until the year 1905.


Montecatini AltoMontecatini Alto was a castle of romanesque origin , 299 meters of altitude, that in the past time was the seat of the municipality until the year 1905. It was the origin of the Montecatini that we know now. At the beginning the only existing town was the one on the hill, however, already in ancient times, people knew that the waters in the swamps had curative powers, and that the termal patrimony of Montecatini was probably already known to Etruscs and we have documents, relating about the spas, dating back to 1387, however one never gave enough significance to the phenomenon. In 1530 one started to take baths in the wells. One had also given a name to the wells: "mediceo" or " tondo" or "dei merli" or " della rogna". The area was in any case unhealthy cause of the stagnation of water. Thanks to the grand duke Leopoldo who ordered to built some waterways for the drainage, the zone was regained, and to make easier the use of the thermal springs he ordered to built some thermal resourts That was also the origin of a second place: Montecatini Terme, first known as "Bagni di Montecatini", exactly because it is part of the municipality of Montecatini Alto.
Montecatini Alto So in 1905 the municipalities of " Bagni di Montecatini" and "Castello" were two separate ones. In 1940 "Castello" became part of "Bagni", today it has become an international thermal resourt. The only intact remainings of the castle and the 6 doors belonging to the 2-km long wall that was brought down by Cosimo I of the Medici, is the "Porta di Borgo".Some of the many towers are incorporated in the area of the steeple of the rectory, another one is part of the remains of the fortress, the third one is the clock tower and the last one is in front of the Convent of Santa Maria a Ripa (XVI Century).This Convent is the only one still tended since 1861 by the Benedectine nuns. The ancient Augustinian Convent of Santa Margherita lodges now an old people’s home . The Convent of the Carmelites (1296) was rebuilt in the year 1764 and today is a nursing home. The Oratory of San Sebastiano with its precious portico of the seventeenthcentury has been well preserved. The Chirch of San Pietro Apostolo built following the plan of Antonio Zannoni, keeps in the columns, in the capitals, and in the front, the vestiges of its Romanesque origin. In the adjoining Museum precious furnishings are kept: a Gothic reliquary, the head of the mistress of the town Santa Barbara, a wooden Majesty of the Century XII, a Nativity and a Glory of Christ, attributed to some famous artists like Del Sarto and Orcagna.
Montecatini AltoIn the year 1315 Montecatini Alto had its more important event: it was place and victim of the defeat of Florence (it was allied of) by the ghibelline Uguccione della Faggiola, Master of Pisa and Lucca and by Castruccio Castracani. We still have some interesting documents about this episode. Montecatini Alto has a central place still stone paved, some remains, coats of arms, tombstones, portals and the ancient municipal registrar’s office preserved by the destruction of the 1554, and after transformed in the "Teatro dei risorti".

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