Near to Lajatico, on the road that connects the Valdera with the Valdicecina, 532 mt. on the sea level and on top of the hill surrounding the countryside, we come across one of the most ancient defensive buildings in the region of Valdera.
The fortress of Pietracassia takes its name from the crack in the rock that marks out the hill where the fortress was built (“pietra cassa” meaning “broken rock“), but following other interpretations the name could refer to the Roman triumvir Cassio: the location of this building was already known in Etruscan times for its closeness with the important copper mine of Montecatini, and without any doubt the place was known by Romans too.
The first document that reports the name of Pietracassia dates back to year 1028. We can recognise two different buildings: the castle on the very top of the hill and the fortress, that consists in a defensive wall that traces back to the Pisan Republic, more or less to 13th century. The present castle, on the other hand, can be dated back to the Longobardic domination, between 7th and 8th centuries, being in this way one of the first barbarian establishment in Tuscany.
The builings were both erected using stones extracted and quarried locally: the castle consists of a compact square block flanked by two towers, while the fortress surrounds the accessible side of the fortalice.
Due to the strategic importance of the location, the fortress witnessed bloody battles during its history, and it was finally dismantled in year 1434 by the Florentines.
Today we can admire what remains of the ancient building, and from the top of the hill we have a beautiful panoramic viewpoint on the surrounding countryside.
Do not miss our tours in the rural Tuscany.