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Carpi is a busy centre for industrial and craft activities and for cultural and commercial exchanges.
The name Carpi is derived from Carpinus betulus, a hornbeam tree particularly widespread in medieval times in the Po valley region. In Prehistoric times it was a settlement of the Villanovan Culture. The foundation by the Lombard king Aistulf of St. Mary's church in the castle (Castrum Carpi) in 752 was the first step in the current settlement of the city. From 1319 to 1525 it was ruled by the Pio family, after whom it was acquired by the Este, as part of the Duchy of Modena.
Carpi is distinguished by its great Renaissance square, the largest in the region. It is flanked by a portico with 52 columns. Town hall (Palazzo dei Pio) formerly the castle of the Pio family. It includes parts from different ages, such as the merloned-tower of Passerino Bonaccolsi, the Renaissance facade and the tower of Galasso Pio, and the 17th century watch tower. It includes a chapel frescoed by Bernardino Loschi and Vincenzo Catena.
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