Rocchetta Arrighina

Rocchetta Arrighina

The Rocchetta Arrighina is a 14th century military building in Pietrasanta, next to the arch of Porta a Pisa.

To strengthen the defensive system of Pietrasanta, in 1324 Castruccio Castracani had the Rocca di Sala strengthened and the Rocchetta Arrighina built adjacent to the Porta a Pisa. It was the same leader who intended to give it this name in honor of his son Arrigo.

«On the 20th of March 1324, having considered that it was good to fortify and garrison the land of Pietra Santa, very fertile and populated and with a beautiful site by the sea, he went there with practical men, and brought his son Enrico there, who wanted foundations cast the first stone; above which he placed a very beautiful sapphire bound in gold, in a cup full of water and wine: and this was under the door, called the ghibelline, and in the postern; placing in each of these places a gold florin (also in cups filled with water and wine) which was one of those that he had minted: and said Rocca had it called Arrighina for the name of his son»

(A.Manucci, The actions of Castruccio Castracani of the Antelminelli Lord of Lucca and with the genealogy of the family, p. 78)
According to the Narrative of Pietrasanta, the Rocca was instead started by Arrigo Castracani degli Antelminelli, son of Castruccio Castracani:

«Arrigo Antelminelli founded the Rocha Arrighina and the Rocha Ghibellina, and note that he was Arrigo son of Castruccio»

(Narrative of Pietrasanta, 1536)
Confirming this, there are two plaques above the tuff door of the fortress bearing the coat of arms of the Castracani family and the Imperial eagle. The work on the fortresses was completed by 1329.

The small structure was equipped with a double drawbridge (outside over a moat filled with water and inside towards the square). With it, the defensive plan of the city assumed the shape of a triangle with the ancient Lombard settlement on the hill at its apex.
In 1395 the Rocchetta was reinforced by a battifolle and a ravelin and later, in 1456, it was equipped with bells.

The Rocchetta was destroyed during the Florentine siege of 1484, but shortly afterwards it was rebuilt by Francesco di Giovanni di Francesco known as Francione and by Francesco d’Agnolo known as La Ciecca.

In the mid-eighteenth century the Rocchetta was dismantled of military equipment. In the 19th century it underwent major alterations with the construction of adjacent buildings and the opening of new windows on the ground floor.

Today the Rocchetta is a private property.