LARICIANO | TUSCANY REGION
The municipality of Lariciano is located in the Province of Pistoia; it currently hosts a population of approximately 6,000 people. located on the slopes of Montalbano, the Commune of Larciano extends for 21 square kilometres and includes the hamlets of S. Rocco, Larciano, Cecina, Castelmartini and the centres of Baccane, Colonna and Biccimurri. Larciano Alto has maintained the medieval urban structure and the enclosing walls of the 13th century, with three access gates to the borough. On the highest point we find the “Rocca” (fortress), probably built by the people of Pistoia after the purchase, in 1226, of the Castle of Larciano.
Larciano Castello is one of the most famous centres of the province of Pistoia, thanks to its position far from the main roads. Its location contributes to its lasting fascination of the ancient atmosphere which pervades the area. We can reach it from Monsummano, following the State Road 436 to Fucecchio, or from S. Baronto, the most comfortable and also the most interesting way, or from Pistoia.
Larciano dominates the whole Valdinievole; it was an important fortified village during the Middle Ages, being one of the bases of the defensive system of Pistoia. About the origin of the name there are various hypotheses: the Roman derivation is supported from the fact that in the 4th century BC a settlement called "Villa Larziana" existed here.
Another possibility is that the name comes from the name of a Roman centurion, Laertia, who, in 122 BC, founded a village on the south-western slopes of Montalbano, called Laertiano. Others simply think it comes from "larice"(larch), because it seems that the area, in past times, was rich in larches woods.
This powerful feudal lordship reconfirmed its domain on several occasions, as historians have inferred from the diplomatic acts of Henry IV and Frederick II. In 1225, Lariciano was purchased from the free town of Pistoia, together with Cecina, Casi and Collecchio, becoming one of the most important defence bastions controlled by Pistoia on the western side of Montalbano.
As far back as 1302, the village was occupied by the Guelphs of Florence, which emerged as victor against the Ghibellines of Pistoia. Thus, in 1310, Pistoia was forced to buy back the castle a second time. In 1391, despite the fact that Florence and Pistoia had since become allies, the military-strategic importance of this stronghold increased. During this period, Larciano was considered a barrier between the part of Tuscany that was dominated by the Republic and the troops sent from Milan by Galeazzo Visconti.
In 1401, the whole countryside surrounding Pistoia was finally integrated into the Florentine Republic and the territory was divided into four sections—Larciano became one of them. Later, it became part of the Serravalle area and the two localities formed a single community in 1772, thanks to territorial reorganization by Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Lorraine.
The ‘comunitas’ of Lamporecchio also arose due to these reforms and Larciano becames a part of it. The town, which achieved its autonomy in 1897, now hosts the Larciano Castle and San Rocco (where the town hall is located), in addition to the hamlets of Biagiotti, Biccimurri, Castelmartini and Cecina.
LOCATED AROUND LARCIANO
Castelmartini can be reached from Monsummano by taking the State Road 436, towards Fucecchio. The first settlement, which gave the name to the hamlet of the Commune of Larciano, is situated to south of the present "via Francesca". Its ancient origins date back to the end of the 13th century; the locality in fact, is mentioned for the first time in the " Liber Censuum " in 1297, when Martinus Jacobi Admannati get build a "domus" and a "castrum" (from which the name Castrum Martini = Castelmartini), then another fortified building near a " hospitium " called S. Donnino, not far away from the place where Pistoia had a port which, through the channels of the swamps and the Arno, placed it in connection with Pisa.
This ancient hospital was connected moreover to a road of particular interest which went through Montalbano. The " castrum " of Martino di Jacobo Ammannati passed to the Commune in 1226 (Berti), year of purchase of the fief of Larciano, to which belonged also S. Donnino. Between 1315 and 1325, a period of serious crisis for Pistoia, the hospital of S. Donnino was destroyed. About the castle, which belonged to Martino di Jacobo, from whom derives the name of the locality where the castle was, we do not know exactly its history ; today, part of the ancient building is probable included in the "Villa-fattoria" of Poggio Banchieri, built in the 19th century.
Cecina, placed on a hill in a panoramic position, is an interesting and pleasant village of ancient origins which in the medieval age played a considerable role as protecting castle of the southern boundaries of the territory of Pistoia. It can be reached from Pistoia by taking the road for San Baronto as far as Cantagrillo,from there for Baco and then by crossing over Montalbano. Coming from Monsummano instead, take the State Road 436 towards Montevettolini as far as Cecina. Cecina, derived from Caecina, Kaiknas, is certainly an Etruscan name. From the end of the 14th century ,when Pistoia definitively submitted to Florence, Cecina gained some autonomy, which it maintened until the 18th century.