AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS
CAMALDOLESE ABBEY AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS
In Badia Pozzeveri, the ex canonical and the ex house of the settler of the Camaldolese abbey of San Pietro, has been converted into the Hostal Badia, a guesthouse to accommodate those who travel by foot.
From an abandoned and degraded building to a new, spacious and functional guesthouse for the pilgrims of Via Francigena. It is Hostal Badia, the new landing place born in 2019 in Badia Pozzeveri for those who walk the ancient pilgrimage route.
In the former rectory and in the former colonist’s house of the abbey church of San Pietro, inside one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy, a hostel that can accommodate up to 21 people has been obtained.
The new guesthouse is located right along the ancient route of the Francigena, adding to the already active Ospitale in the historic center of Altopascio. The hostel was created first of all for the pilgrims, but the idea is to make it a meeting and aggregation point for the citizens too.
Badia Pozzeveri, the archaeological excavations and the ancient abbey represent an unique heritage for the beauty of the nearby area and for the peculiarity of the excavation itself, that focuses especially on the study of human remains to obtain fundamental information for the reconstruction of the lifestyle of the medieval Tuscan population. The will of the municipal administration is to enhance this area permanently, creating a museum with the remains that emerged in ten years of archaeological excavations and above all, to make everyone know the importance of this site, restore and reopen the ancient Camaldolese Abbey, beautiful and precious.
During the years of the excavations, many are the discoveries that have been unearthed, including a small sword, a dagger precisely, called “Baselardo”; it is one of the most important discoveries and makes concrete the traces of the battle of Altopascio in 1325.
According to the researchers, the Baselard represents one of the most tangible traces of the battle which saw as protagonist the badia of Pozzeveri, the ancient monastery built around the year 1000 near the center of Altopascio and an important stop on the Via Francigena. A monastery that after a period of great development thanks to the Camaldolese friars, in September 1325 was occupied by the Florentine Guelph army camps led by Raimondo di Cardona: here the military operations of the famous battle of Altopascio, where the Ghibelline troops of Lucca lead by Castruccio Castracani triumphed, took place.
But there’s more: in the same area where the dagger was found, a furnace for a bell and a small workshop dedicated to the metallurgical activity emerged too.In addition to that, the remains of imported ceramics, coming from North Africa, witnesses of a very lively and continuous commercial activity, which once again the ancient Abbey was its fulcrum, strategic for economic vitality thanks to the passage of the Via Francigena and the proximity to the lake of Bientina, natural connection with the Arno river, so with Pisa and Florence. All enriched by the latest finds of ancient burials, which in the nine years of excavation have outlined a very important cemetery stratification, capable of revealing uses, customs, diseases and social status from the mid-19th century and back to before the year 1000.
During the years, the archaeological site has revealed a very complex history: traces of an early medieval village followed, in the 11th century, by the remains of a religious complex which was transformed into a large Camaldolese abbey at the beginning of 1100. The excavations in the last two campaigns have focused right on the most ancient levels of the rectory and the abbey and in particular on the burials linked to these two important institutions. In previous years, however, conspicuous parts of the 11th century church that preceded the monastery, of the cloister of the abbey and of a large room used as a guesthouse, has been brought to light. The attendance of the site continued in the modern age, when after the suppression of the abbey the church was reduced to a simple building parish church, which in any case was accompanied over the centuries by considerable cemetery phases up to to the middle of the 19th century.
via della Chiesa - Badia Pozzeveri
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