Londa Leggio 2 Eng: Encastellation

15 Mar 22 | Percorso Guidato di Londa

Since the Bronze Age, this valley has represented a very important road junction for the Val di Sieve thanks to the Via Etrusca, being the Londa territory in a central position between Mugello and Casentino, and indirectly connected to Romagna.

Already garrisoned by the Etruscan period, in the Middle Ages it was militarized with the construction of fortified settlements, placed to guard the roads.

The fortification in the Londa area coincides with the expansion of the powerful Guidi Counts family in the 11th and 12th centuries towards Mugello, Val di Sieve and Valdarn, and it is probable that the fortifications were built by the Counts themselves on settlements from the Longobard or earlier period.

The Guidi, from the branch of Battifolle and Poppi, dominated these territories and the ancient roads through three main fortresses whose origin is well before the first written documents: the Castel del Pozzo, Castello di Vicorati and the powerful Castle of San Leolino in Monti (11th century).

These communicated with each other through a sophisticated defensive system made up of towers and small fortifications that made it possible to identify and promptly report the presence of enemies on the entire Via Etrusca and the neighboring territories.

In fact, near Contea we find the ruined Capraia Castle located at the entrance to the Londa Valley; a lookout tower in Rocca Secca in front of the Vicorati Castle, to which the Fornace Castle in the Rincine Valley was also visually connected; in the Moscia Valley, supporting the San Leolino Castle, there were the Castle of Agna and the Sambucheta Castle which visually communicated with the Tower of Poggio Castello located at the source of the Moscia.

The guiding power in the valley faltered hand in hand with the expansion of the Florentine Republic until, in 1375, Florence bought and incorporated the County of Castello del Pozzo and Castello di Vicorati with its fortifications into its dominion. These, to prevent the return of the ancient lords, were abandoned or destroyed. In replacement of the old powers of feudal power, Florence decided and favored the development of the hamlet of Londa, more suitable and convenient for its position for commercial development: the town which until then was represented only by a turret was fortified, enlarged and equipped of structures able to accommodate the population who lived close to the castles.

The town since the Middle Ages has undergone numerous transformations both in urban development and in the name itself. The evolution of the current name of Londa is not clear but it is possible to retrace some phases:

Thanks to Matteo Villani (1283 – 1363) and his New Chronicle of Florence we know that initially the name was Isola (island), perhaps due to its particular position on a rocky spur which, at the confluence of the Rincine and Moscia streams, gave the impression of an island lapped by the waters and separated from them by the mainland.

Over time, “Onda” (wave) was added to the name due to the presence of torrential rivers that generated waves in their small way, or because of the habit of the inhabitants of going to “Onda” to draw water.

And so it was “Isola all’Onda” (island on the wave).

Over time the first name was lost and was abbreviated to “L’Onda” (the wave) which in the linguistic contraction turned into Londa.

In some historical moments the same place has been called in different ways: Isola, Isola dell’Onda, l’Onda, Londa.