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Old Fortress
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Old Fort is a fort that stands on the sidelines of the Medicean port of Livorno.
It the result of rimaneggimenti and reconstructions over the centuries, embodies the entire history of the city, from its origins to the present day.
Since ancient times the area of the Old Fortress was involved in many settlements, which still remain to some witnesses, such as the remains of a settlement of huts from the transition between the Bronze Age and Iron Age, the above which lies a layer of finds from the Etruscan and Roman.
In medieval times the original core of the fortress consisted of a square tower at the edge of Porto Pisano, the great port of call that extended from Pisa and the then village labronico. This product, although sbassato in its height is still visible. Subsequently, a short distance from the first, was raised a second round tower, which tradition says was built by the will of Matilda of Canossa, but without actual historical evidence. After the second half of the fourteenth century the two towers were joined by a wall commissioned by the Republic of Pisa, the so-called "Balancing of Pisa" (or "New Fortress"), probably replacing an earlier wooden palisade.
The Balancing of Pisa was built around 1377, although some did go back to the historical construction of the walls of Livorno Castle (1392). It was said, too, is "New Fortress" to distinguish it from "Old Fortress", a fortified square not far from the present Old Fortress, the area where now stands the monument of Four Moors. Some were built by the Pisans Landuccio Puccio di Giovanni and Francesco Giordani. With the "Mastio Matilda" was used as a town adjacent to the sea in defense of what remained dell'insabbiato southern port of Pisa and Livorno neighboring drops (Pamiglione). It was then the headquarters of the garrison of the port, after being incorporated in the Old Fortress. The Quadrature consisted of a fort almost square, its sides measuring approximately 25x25x28x18 meters and consists of a series of dwellings and rooms used for storage and had an average level of about 4.80 meters above the sea. The brick walls, as seen today, were embattled with the walkways around the patrol. In 1405, when it came under the power of Livorno Genoa, there were three forts built on the three sides of the sea to house the mortars and other guns on all sides, in addition, the walls on the land side were tapered and reinforced all ' external embankments to support the enemy fire, while the battlements was replaced by merlons rounded, cut in the parapet, more suitable to deflect the blows of bombs and mortars. Currently is the forepart projecting into the sea on which is grafted the bastion of the Mouth of Canaviglia dock. It is accessed from the entrance currently used for sightseeing.
The fortress itself dates back to the sixteenth century, however, when the Medici, who became masters of the castle of Livorno, began a major transformation of existing structures. Work began in 1519 and designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and ended in 1534, under Duke Alessandro de 'Medici, as reported in a memorial plaque still preserved on the walls of the fort itself (Alex. Med Dux Flor. Year D ., 1534, the first day Aprilis W. Semper).
A few years later, the Grand Duke Cosimo I de 'Medici decided to fulfill yourselves a palace and made it his residence during his frequent visits to the city, the building, completed around 1546, rose above the "Square of Pisa" and dominated by its imposing profile of the fortress. The Grand Duke himself wanted to build outside the fort, a residence for his followers (now Palazzo Medici).
His successor, Francis I, but raised a building facing the sea and, on the other side, a small chapel dedicated to St. Francis, which in 1606 took place the solemn ceremonies for the elevation to the rank of the city of Livorno. [2 ]
By the end of the Medici and the passage of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany to the Lorraine, the Old Fort became home to a military barracks (1769) for noble, in order to train officers dellesercito Tuscany. Then it becomes the property of the last slaves and "bonavoglie" released after the lapse of a jail. During the Napoleonic occupation, the ramparts were raised with a high wall crowned with loopholes for musketry, and the opening of numerous features openings for the guns. In the same period was placed on top of the keep a visual telegraph.
Partly as a prison (you will be imprisoned for a short time Guerrazzi Francis) and subsequently incorporated in the customs of the port, the fortress, in the years since the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century, it underwent numerous changes with the opening new openings to the interior and exterior curtain wall.
The Second World War caused extensive damage, almost completely destroying the Palace of Cosimo and most of the buildings in the stands, with the exception of the mighty Mastio of Matilda. Since the seventies he started demanding a restoration program, which recently returned much of the complex citizenship.
The Old Fortress has an asymmetrical shape and consists of three ramparts (the Ampolletta facing the city, the harbor and towards the Canaviglia Capitana north east), although it was initially planned for a fourth facing northwest, toward the open sea. The bastions, such as curtain walls are lined with bricks have the characteristic form of "pain" experienced by the brothers Sangallo. Corners of the bastions of Canaviglia and dell'Ampolletta, now replaced by copies in marble, were affixed to two large bronze masks in the form of lion heads (currently on display in the lobby of the Grand Ducal Palace), by Pietro Tacca and students, whose bells were captains of the galleys moored knights of Santo Stefano.
Originally, people arrived at the fortified complex by sea, also grace the digging of a canal between 1522 and 1523 in order to isolate it completely. A small barge, towed by a rope stretched between the fort and the ancient port of call, surviving the death Piazza S. Trinity, led the East Entrance, adjacent to the rampart all'orecchione dell'Ampolletta. Landed at the small pier, you are faced with an imposing door set into the cliff walls. His bow is adorned with stones of Vada cut a wedge to adapt them to splay, the entrance is called "Gateway to the Duke." Above the front door entry with marble Medici crest bears the motto of the Duke Alessandro: "Under the law a Mr. et a faith alone." Besides the sturdy door opens a gallery covered with a trapdoor in the ceiling and a central iron gate for the defense. There was a guard post and immediately after the "Court of Arms" square.
Indeed, beyond this entrance, facing the city, are still identifiable remains of the courtyard portico guard, composed of octagonal pillars and arches. From here, a ramp for use by horses and wagons, flanked by stairs for pedestrians, leading to the upper floor of the castle, dominated by the keep of Matilda, the Palace of Francis I and other smaller buildings, including the church of San Francesco. The latter, once incorporated into a larger building, is now preceded by an incongruous facade designed in response to the devastation. On the square overlooked also the lodgings of the garrison, which could accommodate up to five thousand people, the palace of Cosimo I and the tank water, purified with an ingenious system of natural filtering.
From this level, then another ramp leads to the lower gallery which opens along the walls facing the Old Dock and that connects the ramparts and dell'Ampolletta Canaviglia, a second tunnel from the side instead Canaviglia and creeps up the Quadrature of Pisa, while a third step is developing on the northern side of the fort. They, as well as being used for the distribution and storage of equipment, were used to control the damage suffered during the armed conflicts.
Characteristic also is the bastion of the Capitana, in which there was a powder keg that exploded during the last world war, causing a vertical displacement of the bastion itself and the partial collapse of the vault of the inner cover.
Finally, inside of the keep of Matilda, coats of arms are kept some of the commanders who served in the fort that was originally called the Fortress Sopracciò, these emblems are those that survived the destruction of the French in 1799. Here was located a frescoed chapel, where, in May of 1790, there was a first start.
Damage to the last world war have obliterated much of the building inside, but left largely intact city walls century. To improve the accessibility of the interior, the restorers have installed a feature metal walkway which covers the entire perimeter of the fort, allowing also a charming view of the "Squaring of the Pisans," and the adjoining square tower.
A local tradition, reported by Joseph Vivoli in his "Annals" of the city, said that in time you find a gallery of ancient fortress inscription said: "I Coscetto by Hill was the first to climb the walls of Jerusalem", alluding to the first Crusade to the Holy Land. This story is historically unfounded, because if this plate was found would be the very first known inscription in Italian vernacular and, since the time of the Crusades the fortress was not built yet, would, if anything, originally found in the ancient square tower, incorporated in the Quadrature of the Pisani.
The commanders of the fort were also required to control the port in front and to observe the strict protocol of precedence of artillery greetings on the occasion of visits by monarchs or political figures who came to the city by sea. For example, for the popes, emperors, or you had to shoot 60 "masti" ball and all the artillery, for the empresses, kings and queens are greeted with 40 masti and all the artillery, for the prelates of the Church, imperial or royal princes, kings and other voters empire greetings masti of 30 and 20 gun salute, and on landing on the ground again masti 20 and 14 shots of prejudice, etc..
On 17 October 1600, received with triumphal arches, rounds of blank ammunition and artillery with joyous acclamations of the people the Princess Maria de 'Medici, leaving the door of the Relief of the Fortress, embarked on the galley "Capitana" lavishly decorated for the occasion and departed for France, as the new wife of King Henry IV of Bourbon.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9592 W: 132 N: 18668] (120652)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2012-05-12
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/4.5, 1/15 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2012-05-24 11:00
Viewed: 1135
Points: 38
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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9592 W: 132 N: 18668] (120652)
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