The via medicea

La via

The Via Medicea runs through a historically articulated and complex territory and enters it to get to know it; a territory that belongs mainly to Montalbano and then, secondarily, to the two great plains lying at its feet.

It is an area that during the Middle Ages saw the formation of a point-like territorial ensemble within it, aggregated around the fortified centers which, having continuous contact with larger realities such as the cities present at its gates, was not characterized by being closed world, but open to the most general historical-political and environmental conditions. In the Middle Ages, moreover, Montalbano was a border area with a strategic importance and an intense military-territorial vocation, where large noble factions built a large series of military structures that today the Via Medicea meets on its way.

With the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern age, the territory of Montalbano underwent a radical change and from a frontier area with a military and point-like character it was transformed into a complex territorial system where plains, hills and the upper part of the mountain they integrated each other, catalysing themselves in the patrimonial and territorial policy of the Medici. These, during the seventies of the fifteenth century, made their appearance starting a slow patrimonial penetration in the area of ​​Poggio a Caiano and the neighboring marshy plain where the Laurentian farmhouse will rise, not surprisingly the starting point of the Via Medicea. Subsequently this penetration began to go up the slope of the mountain in the direction of Artimino and the top part of the relief. At the end of the fifteenth century, the northern side of Montalbano had already fully responded to the great political transformations that saw the progressive transition to political, territorial and patrimonial hegemony of the Medici family.

With the modern age, the entire area with Montalbano in the center saw the extension of a new presence of absolute importance: that of the Prince and his logic of territorial ownership. It was a new world and a new way of governing the territory, where the traditional productions of sharecropping poliagriculture (oil, wine and wheat) were joined by new possible vocations (rice and animal husbandry for dairy products) and spaces of solemnity and recreation (hunting and breeding of exotic animals) .All these aspects that, over a long period from the end of the fifteenth century to 1737, branded the territory between Prato and Fucecchio, between Cerreto and Artimino and as far as the Valdinievole, making it possible to build a real new landscape.
The Via Medicea, along this landscape, has the task of showing and making the tourist-walker understand the genesis and development of a centuries-old historical process, thus providing an interpretative key to decipher the profound structure of today's landscape of Montalbano and the two neighboring plains.