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CASTLE OF LECCIO


Two farmhouses remain on the site of the ancient Castle of Leccio, on the top of a hill to the right of the Arno river. The one to the south-east has incorporated the structures of the castle, and the central tower, the main entrance on the northern side, a 13
th-century portico, and the outside north wall of the Church of San Salvatore can still be seen. On the back, medieval fragments of ceramics continue to re-emerge. According to the historian Tracchi – but the hypothesis still needs to be verified – the settlement presumably dates back to the late Roman period and rose in the vicinity of a deviation of the Cassian Way.

The castle was mentioned in various contracts of the XIIth century. These were stipulated inside it and conserved in the archives of the Abbey of Vallombrosa. The oldest one is of 1169; the next, of 1170. It gives us the very first information on the church, to which it seems that there was a monastery annexed. Leccio and its court continued to be cited in sales contracts of the XIIIth century (1234, 1243). At the beginning of the XIVth century, the castle and the district were incorporated into the territory of the Florentine Republic. In 1312 the castle was occupied by the troops of the Emperor Henry VII, and was subsequently retaken by the Florentine armies. After this event, we find no further references to it in the chronicles of the late Middle Ages.

The built-up area must have survived until the end of the XVIIIth century, when – due to the crumbly ground – the population was obliged to move further down, near to the Oratory of Santa Maria al Mercatale. In 1789, the Church of San Salvatore, inside the castle, was also abandoned.

 

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