A castle, a valley, a market


Until about 1200 the name Montevarchi was associated to a castle, built on the top of the hill today occupied by the Capuchin convent and once possession of the great feudal families from the high-medieval Tuscany, the Bourbons of Monte di Santa Maria who were linked to the Arezzo bishopric and then the castle subsequently passed into the hands of the Guidi counts.
The lower area, where the historical center of the city is currently located, was commonly frequented by merchants and farmers, who used this area as a market place. It was a strategic passage between Pratomagno and Chianti, between the ancient Cassia and the new Cassia roads which connected Valdambra to Florence. Over time, the area became a small village with the first urban nucleus and the church of San Lorenzo. Under the strategic guidance of the Guidi counts, the walls were erected and the market area became more and more important, so much so that it was documented in 1261 with the adoption of its own unit of measurement:”The staio of Montevarchi”. With the consolidation of the Medici dominion, the fortifications increasingly gave way to buildings with a more economic function, such as the food warehouses, leaning against the walls, which incorporate the mill gate. These warehouses served as a center for collecting and sorting the products of the Medici farms in Valdarno and Valdichiana.
Later towards the end of the eighteenth century Montevarchi became an industrial center and thanks to the lignite deposits present in Valdarno, development was notable. The city became a district for the production of felt hats and silk processing. Throughout the decades this activity has been abandoned, leaving room for the current leather processing with production of quality shoes and bags and fabrics for the fashion industry.