THE HISTORY OF THE FORTRESS OF LEOPOLDO I
The museum is located in the Forte dei Marmi center, inside the fortress that gave this well-known tourist locality its name.
The Medicis, who beginning in 1531 governed the territory now comprised in the municipalities of Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, Seravezza, and Stazzema, valorized all the area’s natural resources: mines were dug to exploit the iron ore deposits, vast expanses of land were reclaimed and turned to agriculture, and the marble quarries were opened – and Michelangelo was sent here to select the marbles for the facade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence.
In the early 18th century, after the death of the last Medici, the Treaty of Vienna assigned the Grand Duchy to Francis II of Lorraine. His son Pietro Leopoldo enacted far-reaching reforms affecting the state’s political, economic and social organization that carried Tuscany to the avant-garde in Europe.
During one of his many trips to the territory he governed, on 20 December 1769, Pietro Leopoldo Grand Duke of Tuscany noted that “to correctly garrison the Pietrasanta waterfront we need to put more troops in the Motrone tower, which is well constructed, to rebuild and better man the one at Cinquale, and to build another at the magazzino de’ marmi [marble depot], which is the landing for all the ships that come to Pietrasanta and is in fact between those two points on the coast.”
Pietro Leopoldo’s report is the first known document to mention the idea of building a new fortified position in the place called the “Magazzino dei Marmi,” to upgrade the customs service, to give fresh impetus to transport and loading of the area’s marble and iron from the cargo wharf, and to proceed with a general reorganization of Versilia’s coastal defenses against the pirate incursions and raids. The Grand Duke ordered building of the new fortress on the beach in 1782, but apparently some years passed before the work was actually begun: in November of 1785, Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo reiterated the need to build “at the magazzino de’ marmi on the beach . . . a fort for defense of the waterfront and for housing soldiers.”
Construction began not long thereafter and was completed in early 1788.
The “Fortino” we see today is the result of numerous later modifications that largely altered the look of the original building.
All rights to catalogs, images, texts and / or other material published on this site are the exclusive property of the Museum of Satire and Caricature.
It is forbidden to reproduce and distribute, even in part, in any form whatsoever, of photographs, images, texts and / or other material published on this site