Pontremoli (Italian: [ponˈtrɛːmoli]; local Emilian: Pontrémal; Latin: Apua) is a small city, comune former Latin Catholic bishopric in the province of Massa and Carrara, Tuscany region, central Italy.[3]

Pontrémal (Emilian)
Comune di Pontremoli
Coat of arms of Pontremoli
Location of Pontremoli
Pontremoli is located in Italy
Location of Pontremoli in Italy
Pontremoli is located in Tuscany
Pontremoli (Tuscany)
Coordinates: 44°23′N 09°53′E / 44.383°N 9.883°E / 44.383; 9.883
ProvinceMassa and Carrara (MS)
FrazioniSee list
 • MayorJacopo Ferri
 • Total182 km2 (70 sq mi)
236 m (774 ft)
 (31 December 2015)[2]
 • Total7,357
 • Density40/km2 (100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0187
Patron saintSaint Geminianus
Saint dayJanuary 31
WebsiteOfficial website

Literally translated, Pontremoli means "Trembling Bridge" (from ponte "bridge" and tremare "to tremble"), as the commune was named after a prominent bridge across the Magra.[citation needed]

Pontremoli is in the upper valley of the Magra,[3] 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of La Spezia by rail and 90 kilometres (56 mi) south-southwest of Parma.

History edit

Pontremoli is believed to have been first settled around 1000 BC.[4] It was known in Roman times as Apua.[5] The commune later became an independent municipality in 1226 thanks to Frederick 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 (England) 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.[3] 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 (Medici) 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 19th-century. With the Leopoldine reforms, Pontremoli became an autonomous community (whilst still part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany) in 1777.[6] In 1778, it officially became a City.

The area was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 1834.[3] In November 1847 Pontremoli was occupied (along with Fivizzano) by the Duke of Modena, due to a dispute over trade routes[citation needed].

View of the city skyline showing Il Duomo (cathedral) and Il Campanone (bell tower).

Frazioni edit

There are 30 frazioni (English civil parishes: neighborhoods or outlying villages legally part of the commune government) in Pontremoli. They are, ordered alphabetically :

Arzelato, Arzengio, Baselica, Bassone, Braia, Bratto, Careola, Cargalla, Casa Corvi, Casalina, Cavezzana d'Antena, Cavezzana Gordana, Ceretoli, Cervara, Dozzano, Gravagna, Grondola, Groppodalosio, Guinadi, Mignegno, Montelungo, Navola, Oppilo, Pieve di Saliceto, Pracchiola San Cristoforo, Succisa, Teglia, Torrano, Traverde and Vignola.

Culture edit

More modern attractions of Pontremoli include the annual Premio Bancarella book festival, Medievalis (during August) which is a recollection of the arrival 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.[7]

There are also several mineral springs in the surrounding mountains and a local market takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Cuisine edit

A plate of testaroli with pesto served in a trattoria (restaurant) in Pontremoli.

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 baked pasta, often served with pesto.[a] Many have suggested that testaroli was actually the first type of pasta. According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal, testaroli is "the earliest recorded pasta."[9]

Main sights edit

Among the churches in Pontremoli are:

  • San Nicolò which houses a wooden cross, dating back several centuries
  • Chiesa Cattedrale Santa Maria Assunta: the Duomo, built in the 17th century and at one time dedicated to St 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.
  • SS. Annunziata with its Augustinian monastery and painted mural is another notable feature within the area.[3]

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 of Bronze Age stone sculptures representing human figures found in Lunigiana.

Notable people edit

In 1802, Alessandro Malaspina took up residence within this area. Mathematician and poet Luigi Poletti, was born in Pontremoli; 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.[10] 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. American actress Meryl Streep attended her son's wedding at the Castello del Piagnaro in June 2019, and dined at Osteria Oca Bianca.[11][12]

Infrastructure and transport edit

To reach Pontremoli by car, one can exit at the toll booth of the same name on the A15 motorway Parma-La Spezia or take the Cisa State Road 62. Public road transport is available via the CAT company, which connects Pontremoli to other cities and towns in the Lunigiana area, Massa, Carrara, and La Spezia. Pontremoli has a railway station with regular services to Pisa, La Spezia and Parma.

Sister cities edit

Pontremoli is twinned with:

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Yet in Pontremoli there is not a single restaurant that does not offer testaroli, morning and evening, daily brought fresh from the villages surrounding the town, at midday and the evening as well."[8]

References edit

  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pontremoli". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 70.
  4. ^ Martin, James (5 July 2009). "A Short History of the Lunigiana Region of Tuscany". Go Europe. About.com. Archived from the original on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  5. ^ Maty, Charles; Baudrand, Michel-Antoine (1701). Dictionnaire geographique universel. p. 779.
  6. ^ "Tuscany (from Italy)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2006. Archived from the original on 2 March 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2018.(subscription required)
  7. ^ "Primo Piano". Il Comune (in Italian). Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  8. ^ Swiss Review of World Affairs. 1986. p. 18. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Dunn, Elizabeth Gunnison (December 13, 2013). "Historical Recipes Are the Next Big Thing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2016. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Weaver, Ros (7 September 2003). "A drop of cheaper Chiantishire". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 October 2003. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Da Hollywood alla Lunigiana: Meryl Streep a Pontremoli". la Repubblica (in Italian). 2019-06-17. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  12. ^ BENACCI, NATALINO (2019-06-16). "Meryl Streep conquistata dal verde della Lunigiana". La Nazione (in Italian). Retrieved 2020-05-22.

External links edit