La Rocca di Ripafratta
location_cityArchitecture

The Ripafratta Fort

This Pisan fort was important for its strategic position

Pisa

Today, the town of Ripafatta still has the same medieval fortifications as centuries ago, and is dominated by its imposing fort. Thanks to its important strategic position, which overlooks the Serchio River and valley that connects Pisa to Lucca, the fortified town of Ripafatta was erected in around 1000 AD. After many wars between Pisa and Florence, the militia groups led by Castruccio Castracani occupied the fort, which was eventually conquered by Florence and remained under its control. In the 1500s, it was completely restructured by the architect of the Medici family Giuliano da Sangallo. The fort resisted all subsequent attempts by Pisa to re-conquer it from the 1500s to the 1600s. Today, it is easy to understand the fort’s strategic importance, mainly due to its close proximity to the border. The fortified walls are high and were able to adequately protect the small town. The architectural additions in brick made by Sangallo in the 1400s can still be seen today. The only entranceway, which still features the coat of arms of the Medicis and the Pisans, leads to the central square and the watchtowers. The center of the fort is the oldest part of the entire structure. The fort also contains other ruins, underground tunnels and waterways. Two corner towers are located on the east and west sides of the fort. In the surrounding hillside, other watchtowers were erected, however these are in very poor condition and risk collapse.

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