The first witness of permanent human
presence in this area goes back to the Neolithic age. From historical
reports it is thought that the presence of people was motivated
mainly by agricultural opportunity. The discovery of metal artifacts
of the (Neolithic) age, offer proof that the people of that
time lived for a long period in the area of San Giuliano Terme.
At the time the area was decidedly different, going from a hilly
region down to the coastal strip just above sea level. Based
on historical artifacts found in the area, we can describe the
coastal plain as filled with small landings, and the subject
of consistent reclaiming operations.
This is an area that, from the first
half of the 6th century BC, was subject to the domain of the
more southern Etrurian Coastal city, Pisa.
According to historical relics the area includes the San Giuliano
Within the 3rd Century BC we witness the gradual encompassing
of Pisa within the rule of the ever-growing power of Rome. The
newly acquired status as a Roman colony was the reason for significant
changes for both the city and the surrounding area. Plinio the
Old was quoted often describing the virtues of the ³water
of Pisa², which suggests that the Romans knew very well
the therapeutic virtues of such springs. We can still find the
aqueduct ruins made of eight beautiful roman arches, that testify
to the Roman presence in the area of Caldaccoli (calide aquae).
After the Sea Republic of Pisa¹s supremacy over Lucca was
established, the Countess Matilde Canossa radically restored
the thermal baths in 1112. The thermal baths underwent restoration
again in 1300. During the war between Pisa and Florence, the
San Giuliano springs were destroyed together with the San Giuliano
Castle in 1406. During the 15th Century the authorities of Pisa,
trying to financially refurbish the Pisa area, relinquished
the management of the San Giuliano thermal baths to the sea
counsels. In a 1568 depiction of the thermal baths at the east
end, we find five distinctive bathing areas, inclusive of the
San Giovanni Church. This is where later the three baths of
Regina, San Lazzaro, and Nervi were established. During the
last few years of the 16th century, the Medici family accomplished
quite a few renovations by adding some buildings, a hospital,
an Inn, and establishing norms for entrance to the spring. However,
the lack of upkeep of the draining system of a particularly
swampy area contributed in 1630-32 to a plague epidemic and
later to a typhoid outbreak between 1648-49, causing the death
of many of the people. In the mid 1700 a change occurred that
would turn the fate of the village of San Giuliano.
1737 the last male descendent of
the house of Medici died. The Gran Ducate of Tuscany was therefore
inherited through an international treaty by Francesco Stefano
di Lorena. He was the sun in law of the Emperor Carlo VI of
Asburgo, and husband of the future Empress Maria Teresa of Austria.
The Lorena family understood the tourist potential of the then
called ³Old Bath of Monte Pisano². They invested the
necessary funds to increase the value of the San Giuliano area.
Much financial resources were used
for the re-settling of the plain of Pisa and for the restoration
of the water system in the area. They worked on the proper channeling
of the water system, the modernization of the existing canals,
and on reclaiming the marshland. To ensure the consistent settlement
of people the governors of the time established tax-free laws
for all new construction. Furthermore, they promoted manufacturing
while promoting the stable settlement, and favoring tourism.
Overall, this was quite a successful operation.
From the 17th to the 19th century,
many wealthy families from the Pisa and Florence area chose
to build their villas at the foot of the Monti Pisani. The beauty
of the views and the mild temperatures attracted them. The repopulation
of the territory started with Francesco Stefano, and continued
with Pietro Leopoldo, and then with Ferdinando III, and Leopoldo
II at the head of the GranDucato di Toscana. All of which brought
back to 500 the number of citizens. However the actual population
abundantly surpassed the 1000 because of the vacationers and
bathers present at the Baths.
The astronomer De Lalende wrote in
his diary, perhaps exaggerating, that from 1765 to 1766 the
Pisa baths were the most celebrated and attended in Italy. He
boasted about the renovations and praised the opportunity for
the visitors to taking pleasure dancing in the ballroom, enjoying
the game room, and strolling on one of the many terraces. As
a matter of fact, during the second half of the 18th century
the thermal baths knew a period of splendor without equal.
famous people visited the baths. Carlo III king of Sweden,
the future king of England George IV, Vittorio Alfieri, The
Countess of Albany, Gustavo III King of Sweden, and later
General Murat, the poets Shelley and Byron, Carlo Alberto,
Giacomo Puccini and many others gave raving reviews of the
area. During the time when the thermal baths were promoted
heavily, the commitment to its success reaped great results.
When it was first established only the locals and the sick were
taking advantage of the spring¹s therapeutic effects.
Later, the baths developed into a resource for tourism offering
health and new opportunities for work. New buildings hosting
public offices were moved to this area, and new commercial
and manufacturing activities were established as a long-lasting
and enduring enterprise that has proudly brought the old Baths
of Monte Pisano to edge of the third millennium.
LE CARTOLINE D' EPOCA POSSONO ESSERE INGRANDITE.
Alcune immagini sono di proprietà della Biblioteca
del Comune di San Giuliano Terme. Si ringrazia tutto il
personale dell'Uffico Cultura del Comune di San Giuliano
Terme per la gentile collaborazione.