Palazzo dei Vicari

Scarperia was wanted by the Florentine Republic to oppose the Feudal power of the Ubaldini who through a vast area of castles controlled the main roads and Apennine passes. According to Villani, the construction started on the 7th September 1306 A.D. and was given the name of Santo Barnaba.

The construction of the fortified village took place in Scarperia (perhaps for the characteristic steep slope), under the direction of Matteo di Neri from Gubbio, an official of the local militia. All this coincided with the preliminary destruction of the Ubaldini stronghold at Montaccianico which was sieged and razed to the ground so much that no house or stone above stone remained.

In order to give prestige and resistance, to the new Florentine land, the inhabitants from numerous surrounding communes and castles were called, assuring them the exemption from any tax for ten years. The inhabited area of the new land of S. Barnaba which the people very soon called Scarperia was similar to the other new lands founded by the Florentine Republic in the upper Valdarno, standing out however for its different geometrical characteristics and for military solutions which were strategically more modern and consistent for the necessity of the similtaneous control of two important roads such as Via Imolese with the new itinerary for the Giogo pass and the oldest road to S. Agata.

Surrounding the village by a rectangular boundary except on the side facing the slope on the torrent Levisone where the walls nearly follow the irregular flowing of the torrent and the adjacent road of S. Agata it is crossed in a longitudinal sense by the centre line of Via Imolese, on which the two gates opened: the Fiorentina one to the South and the Bolognese to the North. Other parallel roads, united to a series of right angled side roads forming on the interior a sort of chess board with a square at the centre. Works on the embankment and slope together with a few towers had to strengthen the walls and above all the angles.

An essential support of the defensive system of the new land was Palazzo dei Vicari built in the centre of the village as a fortress-palace which with its lengthened rectangular shape linked the main square to the curtain of the walls on the West, the ones on the road to S.Agata

© MUGELLO TOSCANA – Tourism information website

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