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In antiquity, the territory of Montelupo Fiorentino, situated between Montalbano and the middle course of the Arno, was already an important crossroads on the communication route between the Florentine area, the Apennine world and the Tyrrhenian coast. Its location on the old Roman road that joined Florence and Pisa and the presence of waterways led to the development of numerous manufacturing activities, including ceramics. In the course waif the 15th and 16th centuries the ceramics of Montelupo Fiorentino were particularly splendid. Numerous workshops continue to produce artistic ceramics and every year in June the story of the place and its traditions comes back to life in the performances, exhibitions and artistic events that are part of the International Ceramic Festival.
Montelupo Fiorentino was probably founded with the construction of a castle at the end of the Early Middle Ages. The Florentine Republic, which took over the territory in 1204, rebuilt and enlarged the original military settlement. In the 14th century (1333-36) a new circle of walls, still in part visible, was constructed to protect the town that had developed at the foot of the hill on which the Priory of San Lorenzo, built in the 13th century, still stands.
At the end of the 16th century the Medicis built a large villa on the left bank of the Arno in the neighboring locality of the Ambrogiana. In the 19th century it was turned into a prison asylum, the Ospedale Psichiatrico Giudiziario.
Museo Archeologico e della Ceramica
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