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Vicarials Castle

What to see in Casciana Terme Lari, Pisa, Tuscany


The Vicarials Castle of Lari is the only medieval-Renaissance castle still habitable throughout the province of Pisa. Owned by the municipality of Lari, in the past was the seat of important magistracies of Pisa, Florence, Tuscan and Italian State. There were also conducted processes for sorcery under the direction of the Roman Inquisition. It rises on a hill inhabited in ancient times.

The upper bobbin of Lari, the castle, perhaps already existing at the time of the Lombards, destroyed according to some in 1164 by the Pisans, was rebuilt between 1230 and 1287 by the powerful family (of Lombard origin) of Upezzinghi, rebels to the Commune of Pisa and here refugees. Soon however the Upezzinghi were brought to the obedience of the Maritime Republic and in 1289, by intervention of Guido da Montefeltro, the castle of Lari returned under the control of Pisa. The castle was bestowed in part by way of donation and in part by way of purchase, Archbishops of Pisa and for a long time these last received an annual fee and gifts by the governors of the vicariate. Still in 1746 the vicar of Lari, answering to the questions and instructions sent by Pompeo Neri, recalled how in 1734 had been rogato" an instrument of reconnaissance "Dominum" of the said castle by the Pisan Archbishop Guidi. The structure dating back to the period of Pisan government remains that a section of the walls to the south-west, near the orto castellano. The current structure was built by the Florentines in various stages.

In the sixteenth century we are witnessing a massive restructuring of the castle, time to strengthen the defenses, surely outputs being weakened by war events that affected Lari at the end of the previous century: in fact, after repeated invitations from part of the vicars, because of the risk that the whole complex became too vulnerable and insecure, the Florentine government decided in 1523 to start the reconstruction work. Forced so the Vicar Iacopo of Bongiovanni Gianfigliazzi to finance in part gl interventions.

In 1890 you wrote that the premises eran employees "to the use of the Pretura and for the dwelling of the Staff intended for it" with the prison "spacious and reduced down to new prison systems". From when, suppressed the pretura of Lari in 1923, the castle no longer has performed its function as the seat of the administrative and judicial, its premises were used for various purposes: already in 1924, the premises of the former magistrate were rented to the bundle of Lari for it will then be up to 1990, rented to some families that in trying to adapt them to civil habitation, have divided corridors, and large rooms, built new floors, removed gratings and cleared. So until a few years ago the castle of Lari was presented with a large distortion with respect to its original aspect.

In 1993 the 'Castle' Association first recovered the accessibility of the courtyard and some rooms on the ground floor (prisons, room of the Court), organising for the first time a regular service of guided visits to tourists (every Sunday and on reservation). Over time more and more environments were recovered and open to the public. They were organized exhibitions, conferences, conventions and in a short time the castle by "bulky fetish" became the engine of a rebirth even economic of the village of Lari. It was also set up an exhibition of objects of labor and peasant culture which then were taken into custody by the association "beaters of wheat" of Usigliano, which in 2003 gave them rearranged to give life to the Museum of agricultural activity, which still exists in a hamlet in the Municipality of Casciana Terme-Lari. At the time were also made of historical studies on the building and assays that led to the discovery of important pictorial cycles, archaeological finds the Etruscans (POTS) and Romans (sculpture in marble). The volunteers also drew up a plan for the recovery and use. Spurred on continuously by the volunteers of the association "Castle", soon the responsible authorities had to undertake practical work in favor of this important monument. Thus in the years 1996-2007, also thanks to the funding of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa, the entire complex was restored (including the coats of arms and the important Gothic frescoes, Renaissance and Baroque). In 2014 the castle was enriched by another work of art: an icon of San Costantino Roman Emperor, the work of the painter local iconista made with popular subscription launched in 2013 between the larigiani in remembrance of the 1700 years of the edict of Milan in 313 A.D. that led to the religious tolerance for Christians and the construction of the roman civilization-christian that so much importance had in the history of Tuscany and Italy.

You enter the courtyard through an access ladder. Once in the courtyard, on the right we find the church castellana, behind which stood the west wing of the fort, while on the left we have the prisons. Faced begins the central block of the castle, said the Chancellors' Palace, the facade of which - like those of the other palaces - is inundated the blazons of the Vicars of Lari. In the center of the courtyard stands a beautiful tank where they are collected rainwater of the roofs of the buildings Castellani. At the end of the courtyard is the Palazzo dei Vicari, with monumental facade and decorated with coats of arms.

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Casciana Terme Lari

Casciana Terme Lari
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