Strategically, Montecalvoli has always been an important place, thanks to his
favorable geographical position.For this reason, the possession of its castle
has represented the principal military objective of many towns In West Tuscany,
such as Lucca, Pisa and Florence. The history of the village is almost entirily
centred on the continous alternating of various dominations.
Finding a stable position in a precise cultural area has never been easy for Montecalvoli.
Even 1926 it was taken away from the provinceof Florence and included in the district
The present domination of the town derives from the hill on which it lies, that
is bereft of vegetation; in fact, Montecalvoli means ' Bold Mountain '. But in
the antiquity tne village was called Nottuno.
The first historical document on Montecalvoli concerns its church, called after
to S. Giorgio di Nottuno and consacratad by the bishop of Lucca in 728. It is
surely the same church that we find in the estimate the churches of Lucca dated
1260, where we notice also the name of another chapel in Montecalvoli: S. Jacob's
Tha bishops of Lucca dominated the castle of Montecalvoli for much time, but we
can suppose that their power was not very strong, In fact, the village was under
the jurisdiction of the commune of Lucca, since there is a deliberation of the
government in which it establishes that all the villages in the area of Valdarno
Inferiore had to pay a special contribtion of 2000 £ in order to reconstruct
the castle of S. Maria a Monte.
In l200, when Montecalvoli was still in the hands of Lucca, a terrible fight took
place there between the army of Lucca which the intention to conquer Pontedera,
and a garnison constituted by the citizens of Vico and Calcinaia. The army of
Lucca was defeated and this event was the prelude of what would have happened
after a few years. In fact, in 1261 after the victory of Monteaperti, the Ghibellines
of Tuscany, commanded by the count Guido Novello, conquered Montecalvoli and the
fortress of S. Maria a Monte was ceded to Pisa.
In 1324, after various vain attemps, the Florentines took possession of Montecalvoli,
but, in the sarne year, the castle was reconquered by the army of Pisa, led by
Uguccione della Faggiola, and remained under its influence till it was sold to
Castruccio Castracani in 1328.
But the government of Pisa considered Montecalvoli too important for the control
of the area, so, affter the peace of Montopoli (August 1328) it obtained the permission
to have a certain influence, but with the condition that none of its citizens
had properties in it. After a few days, the population gave itself spontaneously
to Florence, which had the political power in the village. Even if till 1869 the
suburb had its own administrative organs, its destiny has been tied to that of
S. Maria a Monte. In 1926 they both became part of the province of Pisa.
Currently, Montecalvoli presents a nucleus of ancient construction, set on
an elevated position as regards to the valley of the Arno river, and conurbation
of recent construction, situated near the street connecting Castelfranco and Pontedera.
Officially, there is no distinction between the two parts of the village, even
if the new conurbation, called Montecalvoli Basso, is on a flat territory under
the ancient fortress.
The new part of the village formed itself after the 2nd World War, in connection
with the development of the productive activities. In that period, the economy
of the village, which was based on agriculture, trasformed itself thanks to the
birth of many small artisan and industrial firms specialized in the working of
shoes and boots. In Montecalvoli. there are also many factories which produce
frames and metal furnishing.
(Translation by Gianna Baccelli)