The hamlet of Lari traces its origins back to the Etruscan age, but the village saw its importance increasing during the Middle Ages thanks to its castle, that soon became one of the most strategical fortresses of the area.
The castle is already mentioned in a document dated back to 962, and it still preserves its double city wall, the highest surrounding the castle and the other surrounding the village. There are three gates: Porta Fiorentina, Porta Pisana or Maremmana and Porta Volterrana, each one leading to Florence or Pisa or Volterra. The doors provided not just a fast way out to reach other cities, but also an effective defense for the village: Porta Pisana, for instance, is made up by two gates, so that once the assailants had got through the first one, weaker than the other, they could be easily attacked.
In 13th century the castle was fortified by the family of Upezzinghi, who rebeled against the Pisan Republic but that was soon leaded back to obedience: in year 1289, thanks to the help of Guido da Montefeltro, the castle went back under Pisan jurisdiction. In 14th and 15th centuries the castle witnessed many battles between the armours of Florence and the Republic of Pisa, till it was finally conquered in the October of 1406, becoming the administrative centre of the district controlled by the Vicari, judiciary of Florence, whose 92 coat of arms are still decorating the façades overlooking the courtyard.
In the castle were hosted the prison, the dungeon known as “Hell” (you can imagine why) and the lavishly frescoed Torture Room, the Chancellery and the Palace of Vicario with the Magistrates’ Court. In the middle of the Courtyard there’s the Chapel of the Marriage of the Virgin which has ten cells looking out onto the church, so that the accused could attend religious services. The castle also hosted the trial of Gostanza da Libbiano, a woman that was accused of sorcery, tortured but finally released by the Inquisition.
Lari is well known for its specialities: cherries and pasta, and one of the best way to visit the village is coming with your own Vespa to be fully immersed in this part of rural Tuscany that still today preserves its ancient charm, far from the chaos of the most known and crowded tourist destinations. Check all our offers!