Malmantile Town Walls

The small fortified village of Malmantile is encircled by one of the finest and well-preserved medieval town walls of Tuscany. The origin of the settlement are unknown, it was mainly a military stronghold along the ancient road that connected Florence to Pisa and only after became a town. The legend says that the origin of its name dates back to the fourth century! S.Ambrogio, bishop of Milan, was traveling towards the central Italy while S.Zanobi, bishop of Florence, was in this zone. The two religious met just outside the town walls, where today rises a tabernacle, and remained for some day to talk about religiosity, guests of a homestead. When S.Ambrogio leave he was so displeased of the bad welcome received from the inhabitants of the place that cursed the land and a few days later the homestead collapsed into a crack! After this event the place was called ‘Malmantile’ that in ancient Italian means ‘bad welcome’.

The late gothic walled enclosure of the country dates back to the 1424 and is considered one of the first examples of fortified town-walls with machicolations on all the perimeter, that became the most used type for all the successive century. Also the great florentine architect Brunelleschi took part at its construction. The walls have a dimension of 125×70 meters and form nearly a perfect rectangle, oriented with the longest sides to the northwest and southeast and with the shortest, at the center of which are opened the two gates, to the northeast and the southwest. Although all the perimeter of the stone walls is conserved, little remains of the machicoulis. This was formed by brackets in stone, of the four rounded projections type, to support the ogival arch in bricks. Here we can find, on alternate ogive, the hole for the dropping defense. The town-walls are completed with square towers at the angles and other two towers at the middle of the longest sides.

The two gates, both with curved arch, are obtained with a outside projection of the town wall and endowed with loopholes on both sides. At the west of the gate turned towards Pisa (southwest) we find the only intact part of the machicolations, crowned by a parapet. At south of the gate the walls are in some points pierced by the windows of the houses built against the inside part. The northwest side is free from inner constructions but partially covered from external houses. The other gate, toward Florence , need urgent restoration, the arch is nowadays at risk of collapse. Malmantile, usually between May and June, accommodates a ‘Festa Medievale‘ (Medieval reenactment).