Grosseto‘s city walls date from two different eras. The oldest walls were built as early as the Middle Ages, while the more recent defensive walls were built during the Medici era. The latter are very well preserved. Many of the former bastions have been turned into public gardens.
City wall Grosseto
It is not known exactly when the first walls were erected. We do know that an existing city wall was knocked down during wars with Siena both in 1224 and in 1336.
This wall was probably rebuilt between 1343 and 1346.
One Pietro dell’Abbadia measured in 1468 the exact length of this wall, which at the time had five city gates. These were the Porta Santa Lucia, Porta San Michele, Porta San Pietro, Porta del Cassero and Porta Cittadina.
The Porta Cittadina was built in 1355 and is probably the gate nowadays called Porta Vecchia.
The tower of the Porta del Cassero, built in 1334 and resembling the Porta Vecchia, is also still part of the current city wall, although in 1593 it was incorporated in the Fortezza Medicea.
The Walls of the Medici
The Mura Medicee have been preserved completely intact. They were built in 1577, after Cosimo I de’ Medici had conquered the City-State of Siena, of which Grosseto was then a part.
The wall was built by Baldassarre Lanci in 1565, who made sure that the then new firearms could be used there and that it could withstand any siege.
The three kilometer long hexagonal wall has six bastions, two gates and a moat that was connected to a number of canals over which goods and building materials could be transported.
Part of the medieval wall, including the aforementioned Porta Vecchia, was reused.
After the Porta Vecchia, work began on the Bastione dell’Oriuolo (now the Bastione Cavallerizza, completed in 1575). Next was the Bastione di San Michele (now Mulino a Vento, 1571), followed by the Bastione delle Monache (Bastione Garibaldi, 1577) and the Bastione San Francesco (now Parco della Rimembranza, 1577). The Bastione delle Palle (now del Maiano) was finished in 1566 and the Fortezza in 1593.
The Porta Nuova was opened in 1574 and restored by the Grand Duke Ferdinando III in 1823.
From the early 19th century, the walls were no longer used for military purposes and between 1833 and 1835, flowers and plants were placed on them for decoration.
In 1866, the bridge was taken down and replaced.
In 1875, the tower above the Porta Vecchia was partly demolished.
One of the bastions is occupied by the Forte Medicea. The others have now been turned into public gardens.