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Vicopisano

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Vicopisano (ZIP code 56010) is 22,9 kilometers far from Pisa, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Vicopisano has a population of 7.907 inhabitants (Vicaresi) and a surface of 26,92 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 293,72 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 12 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Via del Pretorio 1, phone ++39 050 - 796511, fax ++39 050 - 796540: the E-Mail address is sindaco@comune.vicopisano.pi.it.

Population: The municipality of Vicopisano had a popolation of 7.584 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 7.907 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of 4,26% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 3.015 families with an average of 2,62 people per family.

The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 5 and 681 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 676 metres.

Work and workers:There are 295 industrial firms employing 1.497 people that are the 52,95% of the total of the workers. There are 208 service firms employing 437 people that are the 15,46% of the total of the workers. There are also 181 firms employing 721 people that are the 25,50% of the total of the workers. There are also 53 administrative offices emplying 172 workers that are the 6,08% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 2.827 workers, that are the 35,75% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Vicopisano rises along the slopes of the Pisano mount.

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The local economy is mainly based on the production of cereals, vegetables and fruits and on the activity of numerous chemical industries and factories for the production of furnitures and for the manufacture of potter's clay.

The place name comes from a compound name of the Latin word "Vicus", with reference to a "residential settlement", and the specification "Pisano" that the village took when it was conquered by the Republic of Pisa.

The origin of the village of Vicopisano occurred around the X-th century under the jurisdiction of the Obertenghi Counts, even if it is supposed that since the V-th century B. C. the territory has been already populated.

The castle previously erected by the Obertenghi Counts got the important function of market point of the products coming from the surroundings, by being placed at the confluence of the Arno and Auser rivers.

In the XI-th century the Castle of Vicopisano was sold to the Archbishopric of Pisa and in 1230 it became a Podestà's seat of Pisa, sharing with this last one its political and economic chances.

During the next century the village increased its importance under the guide of some rich Pisan merchants who took profit by the river transporting of their merchandize towards hinterland.

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Between the XIII-th and XIV-th century started the decline of the Republic of Pisa and the village of Vicopisano subdued the heavy consequences of the besieges to the Pisan Republic, first by the city of Genoa and then by the alliated cities of Lucca and Florence.

At the beginning of the XV-th century, after the collapse of Pisa, Vicopisano was conquered and annexed by the powerful city of Florence.

For the importance that the village had during the Pisan domination, the Republic of Florence started the restoration of the urban fortifications and the bulding of a new fortress.

In XVI-th century, owing to the coming of the Medici's family to the power, was started an imposing work for the restoration of the water system that leaded to straighten the course of the Arno river and to reclaim the close Bientina Lake.

This great work was started by Cosimo I of Medici and later it was ended by his successor, Francesco I of Medici. Nearby the confluence of the Arno river, the hydraulic engineer Leonardo Ximenes from Trapani built the so called "Cateratte Ximeniane" (Ximenes' water-gates).

By coming the Lorena's Dukes to the power, occurred on the second half of the XVIII-th century, the agricultural activites was increased by reclaming the whole territory of Vicopisano.

In 1776 Pietro Leopoldo of Lorena elevated Vicopisano to the rank of autonomous common and at the end of the same century he started the works to build the so called "Ferrovia Leopoldina" (Leopoldo's railway) that, in the middle of the XIX-th century, was one of the main causes of the decline of the river trade.

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

Among the most important monuments to see in Vicopisano we point out here the Pieve di Santa Maria e San Giovanni (Saints Mary and John Parish), the Chiesa di San Jacopo a Lupeta (Saint Jacopo Church in Lupeta), the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace), the Torre del Mastio (Castle Tower), the Torre delle Quattro Porte (Tower of the Four Gates) and the Torre del Soccorso (Tower of the Aid).

Among the numerous celebrations taking place in Vicopisano we point out the "Medieval Festival" yearly held during the first days of September. During the festival many theatrical and musical shows take place evoking Medieval atmospheres along the streets of the historic centre.