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Santa Maria a Monte
Santa Maria a Monte (ZIP code 56020) is 38,5 kilometers far from Pisa, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.
Santa Maria a Monte has a population of 10.843 inhabitants (Santamariammontesi) and a surface of 38,27 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 283,33 inhabitants per square kilometer.
It rises 56 metres above the sea level.
The City Hall is located in Piazza Vittoria 47, phone ++39 0587 - 261611, fax ++39 0587 - 705117: the E-Mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Population: The municipality of Santa Maria a Monte had a popolation of 10.373 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991.
After the national census made in 2001 the population was 10.843 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of 4,53% inhabitants.
The inhabitants are distributed in 3.849 families with an average of 2,82 people per family.
The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 6 and 112 metres above sea level.
The altimetric spawn is thus of 106 metres.
Work and workers:There are 432 industrial firms employing 2.804 people that are the 65,58% of the total of the workers. There are 185 service firms employing 494 people that are the 11,55% of the total of the workers. There are also 158 firms employing 453 people that are the 10,59% of the total of the workers. There are also 85 administrative offices emplying 525 workers that are the 12,28% of the total of the workers.
There is a total of 4.276 workers, that are the 39,44% of the inhabitants of the municipality.
Santa Maria a Monte extends along the right valley of the Arno river.
The local economy is mainly based on the production of cereals, vegetables, fruits and on the activity of numerous industries working for the production of shoes and for the manufacture of wood.
The place name probably comes from the name of an ancient chapel entitled to Saint Mary. Once it was called "Monte", by being in a hilly position.
The first residential settlements in the territory of Santa Maria a Monte go back to 776 A.C., when the Saint Mary Chapel was built and whose around the local community started to gather.
Some years later a castle was built close to the religious building and it was subdued to the jurisdiction of the Bishopric of Lucca.
During the Middle Ages the village of Santa Maria a Monte consolidated under the hegemony of the city of Lucca, getting its actual aspect.
During the XIII-th century a quarrel started among the powerful cities of the time for the control of the village that, along the same century, was governed alternatively by those different cities.
Santa Maria a Monte was first took by Pisa from Lucca and then this latter conquered again the village thanks to the support of the commander Castruccio Castracani.
Along the XIV during the invasion of the territory operated by the troops of the Republic of Florence, the ancient castle of Santa Maria a Monte was destroyed.
At the beginning of the next century the village of Santa Maria a Monte was conquered by the Republic of Florence and so annexed to the domains of this latter.
The Florentines worked to fortify the village by building a triple ring of walls and at the same time they contributed to increase an economy mainly based on rural activities.
During the next centuries the village of Santa Maria a Monte became a flourishing agricultural centre that, passed by heritance to the Lorena's Dukes, was gave as a feud to different local families.
The process of urban development of Santa Maria a Monte, based on the restoring of the urban plant and on the buildings of new palaces, was started just after the Unity of Italy occurred on 1861 by the action of the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.
Among the most important monuments to see in Santa Maria a Monte we point out here the Collegiata di San Giovanni Evangelista (Saint John Evangelist Collegiate Church), the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace) and the remains of the Medieval fortifications.
Among the numerous celebrations periodically taking place in Santa Maria a Monte we remind the "French Fries Festival" held yearly on August and during which it is also possible to taste the good typical courses and the fine local wine.