The first documents on San Casciano Val di Pesa date back to the 12th century, but this village is supposed to be much more ancient.
Situated near the parish church of Santa Cecilia a Decimo, San Casciano was a site placed along the Roman road Cassia. During the Middle Age the town increased its importance thanks to the growth of the curia of Siena, which could be reached through the Cassia road. Thanks to this strategic position, San Casciano could count on the support of Florence, which considered it as an important outpost on the way to Siena. Over the 13th century, the military importance of San Casciano was officially laid down by a shift of powers: from the direct control of Florence’s bishops, to the jurisdiction of the chief of the army.
The administrative reorganization of the territory led to the creation of the Podesteria of San Casciano, and the division of the territory into two leagues.
The 14th century represents a hard time for San Casciano: it subject to the invasion by Henry 7th of Luxembourg, and in 1326 it was raised down by Castruccio Castracane, seignior of Lucca, and his Ghibelline troops. Under the Florentine government led by Gualtiero di Brienne, Duke of Athens (1340-1343), the village should have been provided with a new wall belt. But the alternate events of the period postponed the project, so the foundations were not laid down until 1344. The works were impressive, also from an economic point of view, and gave the town a fortification worthy of note.
Today it is still possible to figure out the size of the wall belt simply looking at its ruins. The importance of San Casciano as an outpost was confirmed by the works of reinforcement ordered by Cosimo 1st, being the war against Siena in sight. After the declaration of peace, the walls became obsolete, so they were turned into a palace: the Duke Ferdinando 2nd donated the palace to Francesco Giovanni Paolosanto, who passed it on his turn to the Benedictine Nuns of Santa Maria del Gesù. The remaining part of the fortress was left abandoned over the centuries, while a part of it was torn down to leave space to new houses. Today the beautiful gate is visible in via Marocchesi, as well as the square, a real cross-road for the town. The Second World War has severely damaged some of the numerous churches, while the sacred ornaments and the artistic works kept inside have been left untouched, and today they represent an important testimony of the deep religious sense of San Casciano. The town has been enjoying today a new urban and tourist rush. Many testimonies are left of its past richness, among which are certainly worth a visit the Museum of Sacred Arts, with the Madonna col Bambino by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1319), and the Church of the Misericordia, where it is possible to admire the marble pulpit and the Crucifixion by Simone Martini (1284–1344)
In the surroundings of San Casciano Val di Pesa :
Sant'Andrea in Percussina