"Montelupo Fiorentino, the centre of ceramics" Montelupo Fiorentino by randychiara
Montelupo Fiorentino Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 7 photos
Montelupo Fiorentino is the centre of the production of Florentine majolica.
The territory of Montelupo Fiorentino was inhabited from time immemorial thanks to its fruitfulness, to the abundance of water and to its strategic geographical position (a natural crossroads on the communication route between the Apennines and southern Tuscany). Montelupo was probably founded at the end of the Early Middle Ages with the construction of a castle. The Florentine Republic, which took over the territory in 1204, rebuilt and enlarged the original military settlement. In the 14th Century a new circle of walls, still in part visible, was constructed to protect the town that had developed at the foot of the hill on which the Priory of S. Lorenzo, built in the 13th century, still stands. The Priory holds remarkable 13th–century frescoes, among which we can mention a “coppia di storie affrescate” (pair of frescoed stories) by Corso di Buono dating back to 1284.
The remains of the old castle of Montelupo with an imposing tower are still visible on the hill which overhangs the built-up area. The 16th-century well, Baccio da Montelupo’s (and his brother’s, Raffaello Sinibaldi) native house and the Priory of San Lorenzo are still visible, too. Near the castle we find the parish church of San Giovanni Evangelista, which holds the most famous painting in the whole territory: “La Madonna con Bambino e Santi” of the school of Botticelli. Nearby we find the portico and the loggia of Palazzo del Podestà (which is today the seat of the Museo Archeologico e della Ceramica, Archaeological and Ceramics Museum), which are decorated with majolica heraldic insignia. In the nearby site of Ambrogiana we also find a remarkable large villa built by the Medici’s family on the left bank of the Arno at the end of the 16th century. It is finally worth noticing the Torre dei Frescobaldi which was built on the left bank of the Arno (west of Florence) in the 14th century and is now a centre for artistic glasswork.
Montelupo Fiorentino is located in the heart of Tuscany and of the “Terre del Rinascimento” (The Lands of Renaissance), just 15 Km far from Florence and near artistic towns like Pisa and Siena. The town offers tourist, farm holidays and shopping facilities and organises many cultural events. The most important event in Montelupo is the Festa internazionale della Ceramica (International Ceramics Festival) which takes place at the end of June. The festival is characterised by shows, art expositions and folk displays which aim at perpetuating history and traditions of the town. All year long many other events are organised to bring out Montelupo’s handicraft and artistic production: antique trade markets in April and October, flower markets in March, the glasswork festival in July. In the town historic centre there are many shops selling typical local products such as ceramics and glass. From March to December the third Sunday of each month is devoted to ceramics and other typical products.
- Pros:not so many people know this little cultural centre
- Cons:few trains during the day from Pisa or Florence
- In a nutshell:worth one-day visit
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