Modernity, antiquity, leather, footwear and theater

Santa Croce is part of the lower Arno valley, which offers the right balance between antiquity and modernity.

It lies on the right bank of the Arno River, slightly downhill from its confluence with the Egola Stream. Although the orthogonal street grid and the spacious central square are typical of castrensian settlements during the Roman period, the origin of the town is more commonly traced back to the feudal age. At the end of the 18th century the first tanneries laid the foundations for the future economy of the town. Over the years Santa Croce became the Tuscan city of leather tanning and the leather and shoe-making industry.

The Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo in the Piazza Garibaldi was built in the 13th century and subsequently  enlarged in Renaissance style. Its interior has a nave and two aisles, a rectilinear apse and two side chapels. The church preserves glazed terracottas, which once were in possession of the famous aristocratic family Della Robbia. The chapel houses a most valuable treasure, the holy face , a local artwork of Byzantine tradition (12th and 13th century). A painted wood sculpture from the 14th century, which represents the Annunciation of the Virgin, is another artwork of great interest.

The Villa Pacchiani houses a permanent  exhibition of contemporary art. The theatre Verdi was inaugurated in 1902 and thanks to the participation of the most distinguished names of the national theater it  offers every year  a theatre season of great cultural interest. Mostly it houses the most famous actors of the new Italian dramaturgy.

The lower Arno valley itself is one of the most populated areas in Tuscany. Since the Middle Ages, the valley boasts an efficient trading system. Thanks to an ingenious system of towlines, which allowed boats to navigate upstream, the river Arno became a strategic trade route. The valley is famous for its fertile soil and thriving agriculture. The construction of the Leopolda railway in 1840 led to the development of many charming villages, which became important sectors of the woodworking, engineering and leather tanning industry.

Source Pictures: fondelli.nadia ; wikipedia

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Posted March 23, 2010 by lamiatoscanablog

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