Lastra a Signa On Tour
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History

From Roman camp to Medici's commercial centre

The first evidence of organized settlements in these places dates back to the first century BC, when a Roman military colony was founded. It became important thanks to its proximity to one of the main thoroughfares, the Via Pisana.
In the High Middle Ages (570) the area was dominated by the Lombards who greatly changed the structure of the territory.
Between the 9th and 12th centuries in the area, castles and fortified villages were built to protect the city of Florence and Via Pisana. These include the castle of Lastra a Signa and castle of Malmantile, both built in the early 15th century.

Over the 1500s, Lastra was deeply involved in the Medici’s territorial reorganization project, during which economic development led to the creation of the throughway along the Arno, the fruits of which are still visible today.
Several settlements grew up on the river banks, affected by the traffic of river vessels, such as Ponte a Signa, near Lastra, which became Florence’s river port, connected with that of the Medici Livorno.
Lastra a Signa became a booming centre for trade and manufacturing, which reached its heights during the early decades of the 1700s, when straw hats were being produced.
In 1774, the Grand Duke Peter Leopold established the Lastrigiana communities, reuniting the existing villages under a single administration.

Despite the closure of the hat factories following the crisis of 1929, Lastra’s businesses resumed after World War II, along with agricultural production.