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Lastra a Signa

Copyright © Editori dell'Acero Piave di Sant`Ippolito e Cassiano

Lastra a Signa (ZIP code 50055) is 12 kilometers far from Firenze, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Lastra a Signa has a population of 17.916 inhabitants (Lastrigiani) and a surface of 43,06 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 416,07 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 36 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Piazza del Comune 17, phone ++39 055 - 87431, fax ++39 055 - 8722946: the E-Mail address is urp@comune.lastra-a-signa.fi.it.

Population: The municipality of Lastra a Signa had a popolation of 17.416 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 17.916 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of 2,87% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 6.799 families with an average of 2,64 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 26 and 284 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 258 metres.

Work and workers:There are 651 industrial firms employing 2.621 people that are the 50,72% of the total of the workers. There are 407 service firms employing 1.229 people that are the 23,78% of the total of the workers. There are also 306 firms employing 841 people that are the 16,27% of the total of the workers. There are also 66 administrative offices emplying 477 workers that are the 9,23% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 5.168 workers, that are the 28,85% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Lastra a Signa rises along the left bank of the Arno river.

The local economy is mainly active in the industrial field: in the town there are numerous shoes and packaging making industries and factories for the manufacturing of potter's clay.

The place name comes from the compound name of "lastra", with the meaning of "layer of rock", and "Signa", coming this latter from the name of the close town of Signa.

The first settlements in the area of Lastra a Signa go back to the Etruscan and Roman Ages, as the archaeological finds came to light testify.

The real consolidation of the village of Lastra a Signa occurred during the Middle Ages, when a castle and some parishes were built in the territory. Around those buildings the community of Lastra a Signa gathered.

During the Middle Ages the village was under the jurisdiction of the Cadolingi Counts, who held the control up to the end of the XIII-th century, when the Florentines settled down in the territory.

From the XIII-th to the XIV-th centuries Lastra a Signa subdued the consequences of the rivalries between the Guelphs (Papacy's supporters) and the Ghibellines (Empire's supporters). Numerous sacks by Castruccio Castracani complicated the difficult situation, culminating in the destruction of the castle of Lastra a Signa.

Copyright © Editori dell'Acero Piave di Sant`Ippolito e Cassiano

After those events the Republic of Florence decided to operate a massive fortification of the village, whose works lasted from 1400 to 1416.

By coming the Medici's family to the power, for Lastra a Signa started a period of economic and artistic prosperity and flourishing. The Medici's Grand Dukes made numerous palaces and luxurious villas built that hosted famous artists and intellectuals.

During the Medici's domination Lastra a Signa became an important trading centre thanks both to the increasing of the agricultural activities and to those ones relating to the river trading.

In 1529 the army of the King of Spain, Carlo V, besieged first the city of Florence and then the village of Lastra a Signa that subdued sacks and devastations.

Only in the second half of the XVI-th century the village could raise its economic chances thanks to its regained politic stability. Lastra a Signa started again its usual trading activities and promoted the mining and manufacturing of the rock.

In the next century the artisan manufacture of silk, wool and straw was incremented so that the village became one of the main Tuscan centres for the textile production.

In 1730 the local economy was mainly based on the production of the famous "cappelli di paglia delle Signe" (straw-made hats from Signa) that were exported not only to Italy but also to Europe, by way of a flourishing river trade.

The coming of the Lorena's Dukes to the power gave an additional impulse to the local economy. The Dukes, operating a great work of reclamation of the territory, promoted the development of the agriculture that was mainly concentrated on the cultivations of grain, grapevine and olive-trees.

At the beginning of the XIX-th century Lastra a Signa subdued the invasion of the French army leaded by Napoleone Bonaparte who stayed on until 1814.

Since 1815 Lastra a Signa was part of the Tuscan Grand Dukedom until 1861, when occurred the Unity of Italy by the action of the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.

Among the most important monuments to see in Lastra a Signa we point out here the Chiesa di Santa Maria alla Lastra (Saint Mary Church at Lastra), the Tabernacolo del Podestà (Podestà's Tabernacle) and the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace).

Among the numerous celebrations taking place in Lastra a Signa we remind here the traditional "Ancient Flavours Festival" held yearly on December 8th, in honour of Our Lady. The celebration represents a meeting between culture and ancient culinary traditions and for the occasion some traditional local courses are cooked, like the "ribollita" (twice boiled) and the famous Florentine T-bone steak accompanied by a good local wine.