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The village of Montecarlo was built in 1333 in proximity to the already existing stronghold ‘Cerruglio’ to house the inhabitants of the nearby community of Vivinaia which had been destroyed by the Florentines in 1331. It was named Montecarlo after Prince Charles, son of King John of Bohemia, who had liberated Lucca from Pisan occupation (Montecarlo – Mount Charles). The prince, who became the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, visited Montecarlo several times to check on the fortification, which proved to be a significant strategic point in the wars fought between Lucca, Pisa, and Florence in the 14th century. In 1437, Montecarlo fell into Florence’s hands and remained so until the Unification of Italy in 1861. Montecarlo is enchanting and offers spectacular vistas over the outlying areas. It is also renowned for its wine and extra virgin olive oil production.

Main sights

Fortress of Montecarlo: Today it is privately owned but the owners open it to the public and guide visitors through the premises. There is an entrance fee.

Church of Sant’Andrea: The church was built in the 14th century. It dominates the village being the tallest building. From the time it was constructed, it was forbidden to go up onto its rooftop and look down into the fortress. The church was renovated in 1783. In its interior, you can admire a 15th-century fresco, Madonna del Soccorso, protector of the inhabitants of Montecarlo.

Teatro dei Rassicurati: The theatre was opened in 1795 and restored in 1894. In 1965, the theatre was to be demolished, but the townspeople and the local administration fought to keep it open and then restored it. It is considered an architectural jewel embedded within the historical center and is still used regularly. Giacomo Puccini was one of its most famous guests.

Wine Museum: The museum is located inside the 15th-century Palazzo Carmignani Lavagna where it is possible to taste the wines of Montecarlo and Tuscany and also step back in time to take a look at the history of agriculture and wine production through various collections of vintage photos and tools that have been restored or preserved.

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