Article and pictures by Marcello Invernizzi, all rights reserved.

The town of Grosseto dates back to the late Middle Ages. Since 1151 it belonged to Siena, although its history was fraught by revolts. In 1559 Charles V handed it over to Cosimo I de Medici and in 1574 the construction of a bastioned enceinte was begun following plans drawn by Baldassarre Lanci to replace the 12th century walls. The work lasted until 1593.

The fortress is an irregular hexagon featuring two gates and six bastions. These are characterised by retired flanks equipped with sally ports and a triple tier of flank batteries: the lowest one is a casemate at the foot of the flank, protected by a small ditch, while the two upper ones are open emplacements. One of the bastions, incorporating a large medieval tower known as the Cassero Senese, is detached from the city walls and provided with rear defences to act as citadel.

Visiting Grosseto

The new walls never faced a siege and were converted into a public park in the 1850s. Aside from one curtain partially demolished to improve access they are relatively intact, though the piazza bassa of several bastions have been filled up by later structures.

The walls are mostly accessible, except for the internal parts (sally ports, casemates); unfortunately only a very small portion of the citadel can be visited. The city can be reached using the Pisa-Livorno-Rome railway line or the Aurelia road.

Article and pictures by Marcello Invernizzi, all rights reserved.

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