The Fortress in Marciana and the Fortress Museum

Where it is

Marciana - Piazzale della Fortezza

How to get there

If you want to walk and take in the breathtaking views then go up the town steps and cross the tiny, shaded squares, but if you want to go by car, you can drive along a tarmacadamed road and then leave your car in the car park opposite the fortress.

Opening times

Hours from June 19 to September 30, 2017
Every day from 10.30 to 13.30 and from 16.00 to 19.30

Winter: closed

Contact details

tel. 0565 901216(Commune of Marciana)

Prices

3,00 euros / 4,00 euros Museum + Pisan Fortress / 5,00 euros Museum + Pisan Fortress + Marciana Mint
Free for children up to 12 years of age

The Fortress is in the highest part of the town, and looks over Marciana at a height of 415 metres.

The Fortress is thought to have been built by the Republic of Pisa in the XII century, although many people hold some doubt in the matter.

.The people who lived there found refuge during enemy attacks, especially on behalf of the Saracen pirates and also the occasional conflicts with the Genoese, the Catalans, the Neopolitans and the French.

As the Pisan leadership decreased, the Fortress changed hands and was reinforced by the Appiani family, Lords of the Principality of Piombino, the main reason being the safety of the fortress itself and where it was situated, because they considered Marciana the most suitable place that best represented their interests on the western side of the Island of Elba.

At least until the 700s, the Fortress underwent much renovation and reinforcement also on behalf of the Marciana Town Council.

Although the Fortress is an urban one, it was built on the outskirts of Marciana so it could defend the town, and this is something that makes it different from other defense structures, making it difficult to explain the reasons for this.

One reason might be the differences in opinion between the prince and the community when they had to go from a government lead by the "signoria" to one lead by a prince, so this probably made them think it was better to have the structure built outside the town where it would be easier for the prince to keep an eye on and rule his subjects. Whereas before the lord's power came directly from his citizens, from the 500s onwards it could only be granted either by the emperor or the Pope, so society slowly became less democratic and more elite and exclusive, which meant of course that the relationship between the lord and his subjects changed drastically.

The Fortress has a square base with a rampart at each corner.

Originally the south-east one was the storeroom for the explosives and munitions (santabarbara), while on the northern side of the courtyard they had water thanks to an underwater spring that came from the nearby Fosso della Giunca, ensuring them a constant water supply had they been attacked.

If you go and visit the Fortress, you can walk along the chemin de ronde of the walls so you will be able to admire the marvelous view both of the town and the surrounding territory: the lush, green valley that goes down as far as Marciana Marina, and Monte Capanne that stands proud at the back of the Fortress.

Inside the courtyard you will see the very large dolium found on the excavation site of the fortified Etruscan village of Monte Castello (Procchio).

During the summer months, exhibitions, cultural meetings and different types of celebrations are held in the spacious courtyard.

The Fortress Museum, inaugurated in 2013, is inside the two front ramparts at the entrance to the Fortress, while in the rampart on the left there are copies of Medieval and Renaissance cutting tools on show, as well as information about falconry. On the right you will see some archaeological remains of pottery found inside the Fortress, as well as some historical information about Marciana and the Fortress.

Edited text courtesy of Gianfranco Vanagolli
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Fortezza Pisana di Marciana