Sigeric the Serious: Via Francigena, Arne Blanca (Fucecchio)-Aqua Nigra (Ponte Cappiano), Circa 990 AD

In the 990’s the land situated between Fucecchio and Ponte Cappiano seemed to have been a scattered settlement with low population density. The bridge crossing the canal Usciana was run by the Knights Hospitalier of Altopascio who were protecting the ancient Via Francigena. Sigeric the Serious calls the town Aqua Nigra , most likely because of the dark channel water. Additionally the construction in Fucecchio of the abbey of San Salvatore and the Collegiata di San Giovanni Battista, which happened less than 10 years later, must have been a common subject of conversation amongst the locals.

The medieval town of Fucecchio is also mentioned in the Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi, written in 1917, where one of the character, Simone, was once its mayor. The opera tells the story of how Gianni Schicchi, a gifted actor, successfully impersonated the just-deceased Buoso Donati in order to dictate a will that left the deceased’s estate to his family. The story may have been based on a true story from the 13th century, which Dante also knew about since he mentioned Gianni Schicchi in the Inferno, Canto XXX, placing him in the Circle of the Impersonators.


Gianni Schicchi in hell, Gustave Dore illustration


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