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Easton Jones
Easton Jones

Fortress - La Fortezza

During the 14th century the armies of Lucca, needing a strategic vantage point on higher ground, constructed a fortezza (fortress) on the Cerruglio hill in the countryside between Lucca and Valdinievole. This fortress, with its strategic position and high tower, allowed the Lucchese to have advance warning of an enemy approaching from the direction of Florence and also to send signals back to Lucca. In the 15th century, the Florentines (then in control of the region) expanded the fortress to its current size and configuration.

Fortress - La fortezza

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Today, the fortezza remains an imposing structure, sitting above the small town of Montecarlo, about a 30-minute drive from Lucca. The original portion of the fortress, built in the 14th century, includes a rounded tower (the mastio, far left in the aerial photo above), two square towers, and a central courtyard all connected by exterior walls in a roughly triangular shape.

The entrance, in one of the square towers, is through an ancient wooden door with a "door within a door" design that prevented armed intruders from entering (the smaller door could be opened but was too small to permit the weapons carried by a soldier to pass through). Amazingly, this massive door is original to the fortress.

The current family home, once the quarters of the military person in charge of the fortress, also lies in this section, as does a large outdoor kitchen and an old cistern. In the central courtyard wall another door leads out of the fortress and onto beautiful views of the valley below.

The more recent construction (15th century) is in brick rather than stone and includes a long room with beamed ceilings and a fireplace at what is now the front of the property, and two smaller towers. Its walls enclose a formal Italian garden, which lies between the newer and older portions of the fortezza.

Hearing that story, as we stood at the top of the tower, overlooking the valley below, was awe inspiring. We also climbed up into the mastio and the second tower at the front of the fortezza, which was accessed by a narrow, winding stone staircase and opened onto views of the town, the valley beyond, and several distant towns. Signor Menchini suggested that this might be the perfect spot for an aperitivo. What a good idea - if I lived here I would spend every summer evening doing just that.

When I'm in Italy, I often declare "what a perfect day". My visit to the fortezza certainly qualified for that description. Grazie to Lucca Italian School for arranging this visit and to the Pardocchi - Menchini family for opening their family property to us ! - post by JMB

"I knew it would be the perfect location to conduct creative workshops and retreats, and, everyone could stay on the grounds," Atlanta-based Joseph told Business Insider of the 27-acre property in northern Tuscany. The main building was once a fortress housing soldiers who protected the land. Joseph has aptly given it the name of La Fortezza, "The Fortress."

La Fortezza Fortress is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arezzo. In the 14-15th centuries, this part of the city was called Poggio San Donato, because it was located on the hill of the same name. And the whole area around the fortress was known as the Citadel - there were houses, churches, towers, the City Hall and the Palazzo del Capano. In the following centuries, all of these structures were demolished to build a new Medici fortress, as the rules of military engineering required that the fortress be isolated. That is why so few buildings have survived from the ancient Arezzo.

It is not known for certain where the early medieval fortress, Castrum Marchionis, was located. Probably, it was built in the 9-10th centuries by a certain Tuscan marquis on the hill of San Donato near the modern Medici fortress. It is only known for certain that at the top of the hill was Cassero di San Donato - a tower built by the Bishop of Tarlati in 1312-27. In general, this bishop, before the erection of new city walls, built as many as three small fortresses: one was located near the Porta San Clemente gate, the other at the Porta San Lorentino gate, and the third on the San Donato hill. However, Cassero di San Donato suffered severely during the riots against the bishop. Subsequently, the tower was rebuilt, and in 1502, when the Aretines rebelled against Florence again, they once again partially destroyed Cassero as a symbol of Florentine rule. Soon after the suppression of the uprising, Florence commissioned two prominent architects of the time - Giuliano da Sangallo and his brother Antonio il Vecchio - to build a new modern fortress.

The current fortress lies at the eastern end of Il Prato Park, and ancient trees hide the entrance inside. The moat around the fortress and the suspension bridge have not survived to this day, but you can still see the holes in which this bridge was fastened, and the ancient loopholes. Above the entrance is the large Medici family coat of arms, and just beyond the entrance is a large square room, from which a long corridor leads to the top of the fortress. Along the same corridor, there are numerous rooms closed to the public. Most of the fortress bastions once had secret underground passages, and tunnels led to loopholes on the outer walls. There were wells, cisterns for storing water and other premises, including powder depots. None of the buildings inside the fortress have survived to this day - today only a large garden can be seen there.

Residents of Arezzo and guests of the city love to stroll around the fortress and enjoy the views. On the territory between the La Spina bastion and the Belvedere there was once a pagan complex dedicated to Jupiter, Minerva and Juno, and a little to the side, between the Belvedere and the della Chiesa bastion, fragments of the ancient Roman amphitheater are visible.

It is absolutely a fortress unique in its kind. It was built by the Medici not for protecting the city but for defending themselves from the people from Arezzo because they have never accepted to be dominated by Florentines. It says a lot about the character of Arezzo and its people.

2013 - La fortezza (Fortress) è un film del 1992 diretto da Stuart Gordon. È una storia fantascientifica ambientata in un futuro distopico. Nel 1999 è uscito il sequel, La fortezza: segregati nello spazio, sempre interpretato da Christopher Lambert.

Mentre il sistema di sicurezza della prigione va in tilt e i prigionieri fuggono da tutte le parti, John, Karen e Gomez salgono su un camion per il trasporto dei prigionieri, con il quale fuggono dalla fortezza e giungono in Messico. I tre si fermano presso un fienile abbandonato in campagna, dove Karen inizia a partorire. Improvvisamente però Zeta-10 si riprende, prendendo il controllo del camion. La vettura robotica assale così il gruppo ed uccide Gomez. John, grazie all'arma sottratta al Clone, riesce a distruggere il camion, il quale si schianta però contro il fienile. John piange alla apparente morte della moglie, ma la ritrova poi a breve distanza con il loro figlio tra le braccia.

An example of the "politics of fortresses" wanted by Pope Innocent VI to bring the great Italian cities of Central Italy back to papal control and start a military fortification project for the Papal State.

The Fortress or Rocca Albornoz was built starting from 1364 by the will of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz but already in 1390 it was destroyed while the city was experiencing a period of tumultuous internal struggles. In 1450, under the control of the Papal State, the fortress was rebuilt and in 1527 Pope Clement VII commissioned Antonio da Sangallo the Younger to build the Pozzo di San Patrizio, which at that time was called Pozzo della Rocca precisely because it was designed to serve of the fortress and for the water supply of the city.

The fortress continued to have its original function as a military defense structure until the end of the 1800s. The fortress became a meeting place for events thanks to the construction, inside, of an amphitheater with steps and stages where events were held. In 1882 it hosted the funeral honors of Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Today the fortress houses the public gardens and the birthplace of the Orvieto journalist Luigi Barzini, the first special correspondent in the history of journalism. From its walls you can enjoy a beautiful view of the valley below and recently a connection path has also been created between the Rocca and the San Patrizio Well.

Over the last 2000 years the inhabitants of Volterra have fought a variety of enemies and sustained a diocese. While the pious built cathedrals, churches and Palazzi, constant wars led to the construction of six new gates; a new city wall, which was shorter but bigger and stronger than the one left by the Etruscans; a formidable fortress and tower apartments with private entrances on the third or fourth floor, so potential enemies could be welcomed with a bucket of boiling water.

The fortress of VolterraLa Fortezza Medicea was built for military purposes in the Middle Ages, but the building turned out to be highly suitable for storage of political prisoners, who might be opponents of the Medici family or against national unity under the Risorgimento. The fortress still serves as a prison with criminals locked up in the medieval cells.

With these images in mind the drive up to Volterra and the sight of the fortress with its walls, towers, and enclosures acquire a whole new meaning and works as an antidote to too much sugarcoated Tuscan romance in one place.

At just a few minutes from the historical centre, at number 11 Viale Vittorio Veneto, the Villa is located opposite the renaissance fortress La Fortezza Medicea. The historic centre of the city can be reached on foot by following the old walls of this fortress. In the immediate vicinity, literally just a few minutes walking distance, are the Giardini La Lizza, a wooded park in the heart of the town, the sports stadium, and the Basilica of St. Domenico. Numerous car parks, both public and private, are located within short distances and public transport services are both regular and frequent, making La Villa an ideal locale from which to discover the beauties of one of the most charming cities in Tuscany. 041b061a72


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