Back to the province of Pisa


Photo Wikipedia

Palaia (ZIP code 56036) is 46,5 kilometers far from Pisa, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Palaia has a population of 4.522 inhabitants (Palaiesi) and a surface of 73,53 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 61,50 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 240 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Piazza della Repubblica 56, phone ++39 0587 - 62141, fax ++39 0587 - 622539: the E-Mail address is

Population: The municipality of Palaia had a popolation of 4.417 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 4.522 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of 2,38% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 1.697 families with an average of 2,66 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 30 and 276 metres above sea level.

Photo Wikipedia
Torre dell'Orologio

The altimetric spawn is thus of 246 metres.

Work and workers:There are 96 industrial firms employing 266 people that are the 33,00% of the total of the workers. There are 115 service firms employing 197 people that are the 24,44% of the total of the workers. There are also 97 firms employing 243 people that are the 30,15% of the total of the workers. There are also 31 administrative offices emplying 100 workers that are the 12,41% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 806 workers, that are the 17,82% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Palaia rises along the lower valley of the Arno river.

The local economy is mainly based on the agriculture and on the activities of the textile and furniture industries.

The place name comes from the Latin word "palus" that literally means "pole", to which the suffix "-aria" was added, with the meaning of "hatchery of cutting".

The first settlements in the territory of Palaia probably go back to the Etruscan and Roman Ages, but the real consolidation of the village occurred during the Middle Ages.

The place is quoted for the first time in an official document dating back to 980, when a castle of Palaia already existed.

Photo Wikipedia
Chiesa Santa Maria

During the Middle Ages the castle of Palaia was quarrelled among the powerful cities of Florence, Pisa and Lucca, all of them wanting to extend their jurisdiction to Palaia, being this latter placed in a strategic position in the valley of the rivers Arno and Era.

The quarrel ended with the intervention of the German emperors: first in 1191, by the action of Enrico VI, then in 1209 by Ottone IV and lastly by Carlo IV who assigned the political jurisdiction to the Republic of Pisa whereas the property of the castle of Palaia to the Bishops of Lucca.

While the Pisan power consolidated on the village, Palaia, that sided for the political faction of the Guelphs (Papacy's supporters) subduing the influence of the Guelph Lucca, started to side for the Ghibellines (Empire's supporters).

After changing its political party, Palaia took part to the was existing between the king Manfredi and the Papal State that caused the devastation of its territory and its ban by the Pope.

At the beginning of the XV-th century Palaia subdued itself to the city of Florence, having this latter previously besieged and defeated Pisa.

Entered the Republic of Florence, Palaia tried to rebel against the Florentine power by supporting the enemies of Florence.

All rebellions failed whenever so that Palaia had to subdue to Florence, being first under the control of the Medici's Grand Dukes and then under the Lorena's Dukes, who, at the beginning of the XVIII-th century, came to the power.

Photo Wikipedia

The Lorena's domination was interrupted by the invasion of the French troops leaded by Napoleone Bonaparte, who stayed on until 1814, when the Treaty of Vienna assigned the town of Palaia to the Tuscan Grand Dukedom.

In 1861 Palaia was annexed to the Reign of Italy by the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.

Among the most important monuments to see in Palaia we point out here the Pieve di San Martino (Saint Martin Parish), the Parrocchiale di Sant'Andrea (Saint Andrew Parish) and the Torre Civica (Civic Tower).

Among the several celebrations periodically taking place in Palaia we remind here the "Permanent Show of the Peasant Civilization" hosted in a villa named today "Palazzetto Filippeschi". Here it is possible to admire a rich collection of both tools and ancient and modern machines used to cultivate land, for the vine production and for the artisan manufacturing.