Vittorio Emanuele Square - Castelfranco di Sopra

Castelfranco Piandiscò

A town of great strategic importance historically

Read the story of Castelfranco Piandiscò on logo toscana ovunque bella Castelfranco Piandiscò Rhymes by an anonymous traveler A magical land in the verses of an unknown poetRead the story
At an altitude of 281 m above sea level, Castelfranco has approximately 2,000 inhabitants. In its territory you can admire the Tower, the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, built in the 18th century and the 17th-century church of St. Thomas.

HISTORY
Originally, where today is the capital town there once was the Soffena (or Sofena) Castle. We have no precise knowledge of the end of the stronghold, but we know that its name was inherited from an abbey built around 1090, managed by the Vallombrosan order.
 
In the 12th century the Abbey of San Salvatore at Soffena was the subject of a long dispute between the friars and Renuccino di Ranieri, lord of Faella supported by Emperor Frederick I. Then Florence started to impose itself on the area.

The current centre was instead founded by the Florentine Republic in 1299 and its name probably comes from the edict that made the town “franco”, or rather free from tax restraints and other duties for some years. This type of law usually came from the Florentines to convince the rural populations to establish themselves in these “new lands”. The main motive for the building of Castelfranco, on the ruins of the Soffena castle, was to oppose the rural opposition that were storming lower Tuscany.

A VIOLENT STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL
The 13th century, in fact, was characterised by the violent struggles between the Florentine Republic and feudal aristocracies. The area of Castelfranco was particularly affected by the sackings and warfare of the Ubertinis, the Guidis and the Pazzis, not at all resigned to watching their ancient dominions on the Arezzo countryside vanish.
 
Right from the start, the village was equipped with imposing defensive structures, populated in just a few years thanks to the fiscal exemptions and came to the head of the League of Castelfranco, at Florence’s side.

A TOWN OF INCREASING IMPORTANCE
Having eliminated the problem of the powerful noblemen, whose aspirations were strongly re-dimensioned by the Florentine martial power, Castelfranco was transformed into a market, exploiting its position on the main road, between Pratomagno and the Valdarno.
 
In the 14th century, the village also became the capital town of a podestà jurisdiction, with jurisdiction also over the nearby zone of Pian di Scò. As such, it became part of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century.

In the grand-ducal era there were no particular facts regarding the council of Castelfranco. The arrival of the Lorena family, a branch of the Asburgo called to govern Tuscany after the extinction of the Medicis, however, marks the end of the centuries-old Abbey of San Salvatore. Abolished and divided, the abbey’s property was split up into two farms, whose inhabited areas were extracted from the old church and the convent. 

Cover image credit: Sailko

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Area

Valdarno

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