|Comune di Pontremoli|
|Province||Massa and Carrara (MS)|
|• Mayor||Lucia Baracchini|
|• Total||182 km2 (70 sq mi)|
|Elevation||236 m (774 ft)|
|Population (31 May 2007)|
|• Density||44/km2 (110/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Saint Geminianus|
|Saint day||January 31|
Pontremoli (Latin Apua; Pontrémal in the local dialect) is a small city, comune and bishop's see in the province of Massa and Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. Literally translated, "Pontremoli" derives from "Trembling Bridge" ( ponte - "bridge" and tremare - "to tremble"), with the commune having been named after a prominent bridge across the Magra.
Pontremoli is believed to have been first settled around 1000 BC. It was known in Roman times as Apua. The commune later became an independent municipality in 1226 thanks to Federico II who chartered the free municipality, partly because of its mountainous terrain. This terrain in the valley of the Magra also made Pontremoli a target for numerous conquests from rival Italian and foreign lords. Pontremoli was controlled by various aristocratic families, including the Malaspina (in 1319) and the Antelminelli (in 1322). The conflict between the rival Guelfi and Ghibellini factions in the early fourteenth century resulted in the construction of the Great Bell Tower (Il Campanone) to separate the rival camps. During these Medieval times Pontremoli was often visited by pilgrims travelling from Canterbury to Rome.
In 1331 Pontremoli was sold by John I of Bohemia to Mastino II della Scala (Lord of Verona). Pontremoli was later taken over by the Visconti of Milan in 1339. In 1404 the ownership of Pontremoli once again changed hands as it was seized by the Fieschi family of Genoa. However, by 1433 Pontremoli was again under the control of the Milanese. In 1495 Pontremoli was sacked by the troops of Charles VIII of France. During this time Pontremoli was a territory owned by the House of Sforza, who were the new Dukes of Milan.
Pontremoli was a French territory from 1508 until 1522 as several northern Italian areas were conquered. In 1526, Pontremoli was captured by Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. Pontremoli was controlled by Spain until 1647, when it was bought by the Republic of Genoa. Three years later, Pontremoli was made part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It stayed as such (with the exception of a period of French control from 1805 to 1814) until Italian unification in the nineteenth century.
With the Leopoldine reforms, Pontremoli became an autonomous community (whilst still part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany) in 1777. In 1778, it officially became a City. The area was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1834. In November 1847 Pontremoli was (along with Fivizzano) occupied by the Duke of Modena, due to a dispute over trade routes.
After a peak of 16,552 people in 1921, Pontremoli's population has decreased over recent years to a figure of 8,255 in 2001. The 2001 census also showed there were 3,666 families living in Pontremoli, meaning that there was an average of 2.25 people in each family.
In 1802, Alessandro Malaspina took up residence within this area. A notable person born in Pontremoli was mathematician and poet Luigi Poletti, there is now a road within the city named in his honour. The goalkeeper for Italy in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Enrico Albertosi, is a notable sportsman to come from the area. Currently, Italian singer Zucchero owns a house in the commune. Ex - Professional Queens Park Rangers player Mario Lusardi traces his roots from a small comune in the hills above Pontremoli, named Bratto, where he currently spends his holidays in the picturesque surroundings.
A large number of churches are situated in Pontremoli and these provide the main cultural sights of the city. One of these is the Church of San Nicolò which houses a wooden cross, dating back several centuries. Also present is the Chiesa Cattedrale S. Maria Assunta (Il Duomo) which was built in the 17th century and dedicated to Saint Geminianus - the cathedral holds many valuable sculptures and paintings. The dome of this cathedral, along with Il Campanone (the bell tower), dominates the city skyline. The church of the SS. Annunziata with its Augustinian monastery and painted mural is another notable feature within the area.
There are also several buildings concerned with the past noble families of Pontremoli. The major site is the Castello del Piagnaro, one of the largest castles of Lunigiana. Several palaces, such as those of the houses of Malaspina and Dosi, are located within the commune.
The "Museo delle Statue Stele" (situated within the castle) contains a number bronze age stone sculptures representing human figures found in Lunigiana.
More modern attractions of Pontremoli include the annual Premio Bancarella book festival, Medievalis (during August) which is a recollation about the arrive of Emperor Frederick II in Pontremoli in 1226, as well as Il Bar Moderno (a local café), which was in 1970 the winner of a "gold medal" in a Milanese "Ice Cream and Coffee" competition.
There are also several mineral springs in the surrounding mountains and a local market takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Local foods unique to Pontremoli include "amor" (a type of small cake, consisting of a creamy filling between wafers), "spongata" (a Christmas cake containing chocolate, honey and hazelnuts, among other ingredients), "torta d'erbe" a pie filled with a mixture which may include bietole (Swiss chard), eggs, ricotta cheese, potato, rice and parmigiano cheese wrapped in a very thin pastry; and "testaroli" (a flat oven baked pasta, often served with pesto). Many have suggested that the latter was actually the first type of pasta.
Wild boar is a surprisingly common feature of many restaurant menus. Each October sees a "Mushroom and Chestnuts Festival" take place in the city; there are a number of restaurants which specialise in dishes using local mushrooms, as is the custom of the region.
List of frazioni
There are 57 unique frazioni (English: fractions—equivalent to neighborhoods or outlying villages legally part of the commune government) in Pontremoli. They are, ordered alphabetically:
Arzelato, Arzengio, Baselica, Bassone, Belvedere, Braia, Bratto, Canale Scuro, Careola, Cargalla Inferiore, Cargalla Superiore, Casalina, Cavezzana D'Antena, Ceretoli, Cervara, Costa di Soglio, Dozzano, Gravagna Montale, Gravagna San Rocco, Grondola, Groppodalosio, Groppoli, Guinadi, La Colla, Mignegno, Molinello, Montelungo Inferiore, Montelungo Superiore, Monti, Navola, Oppilo, Pian di Valle, Pietra Piccata, Poderi, Pollina, Ponte Teglia, Pontremoli (Capoluogo), Prá del Prete, Pracchiola, Previdé, Saliceto Belvedere, San Cristoforo, Santa Giustina, Scorano, Sergola, Serola, Soglio, Teglia, Toplecca di Sopra, Torrano, Traverde, Valle, Versola, Veserada, Vignola and Villa Vecchia.
Pontremoli is twinned with:
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
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- Visitors Guide to Pontremoli
- Article on the Culture of Pontremoli
- Cuisine in Lunigiana
- Article on the History of Pontremoli
- Massa and Carra Tourism section on Pontremoli
- Pontremoli, crossroad of history and culture by turismo.intoscana.it