The origins of Grosseto date back to the High Middle Ages. The oldest sporadic findings carried out in some parts of the city are not sufficient to prove either Etruscan or Roman origins.
From August 803 the church of St. George and many of its treasures were assigned to Ildebrando degli Aldobrandeschi, whose successors were counts of the Grosseto Maremma until the end of the XII century. This is how the “dominion” of the Aldobrandeschi started, with whom the city reached its principal power.
HISTORY BETWEEN 1137-1552
A true dominion that prevented the Grosseto people in 1137, such was the independence of their government from the imperial substitute, from surrendering and being besieged by the German troops that came to the Maremma with the Duke Arrigo of Bavaria. A rather important date is 1138 that saw the transferral to Grosseto of the Bishop’s seat of Roselle. While the first ideas of Commune were looming, the town swore loyalty to Siena in 1151, and in the first years of the XII century stipulated agreements for the salt duties with her.
In 1222 the Aldobrandeschi conceded the citizens the faculty to nominate a podestà, three counsellors and the consuls. In the general jubilation the act of obedience made to Siena was repudiated. The sending of 3000 men from Siena and some “good manners” re-established loyalty and obedience.
And so Siena substituted the Aldobrandeschi, with the understanding that the imperial privileges stayed. Grosseto welcomed, in 1224, the Emperor Federico II, whose fame as benefactor and man of culture brought noblemen and poets from every part of Italy. While Guelphs and Ghibellines were busy in warfare, and even though taken with letters and poetry, Federico II succeeded in unmasking the conspiracy of Capaccio ordered by Pandolfo di Pasanella.
After the calm interval Umberto and Aldobrandino Aldobrandeschi, with the death of their father Guglielmo, tried to conquer from the Siennese their lost dominions; however the Siennese armies in 1259 forced the town to surrender and nominated one of their citizens as podestà. Free again after just one year, Grosseto fought with Florence in the battle of Monteaperti; reoccupied, devastated, excommunicated by Clemente IV, liberated, declared a Republic with Maria Scozia Tolomei at the head, besieged by Ludovico the Bavarian and by the antipope Nicola V in 1336, it suffered its final submission to Siena.
Attempts to revolt and plagues, among which those of 1430 and 1527 (which was followed in the subsequent year by an incursion by the pirate Barbarossa) characterised the period up to 1552 in which the Grossetani threw out the Spanish who were governing the city.
UNDER MEDICI RULE
The Treaty of Cateau Cambresis and the fall of Siena to Florence caused the Medici to transform Grosseto into a fortress. The construction of the walls started, the Ufficio dei Fossi was created, while the area was drained and road networks started to take form.
The Medicis, however, neglected Grosseto and its lands and only with the arrival of the Lorena thanks to Pietro Leopoldo, the province of Grosseto was separated from Siena and had a podestry and new political and economic systems. After the Congress of Vienna, Ferdinando III took back the political intelligence of recovery of the Maremma making use of his precious minister Fossombroni.
Leopoldo II then continued the good work and the Grossetani on the 1st May 1846 inaugurated a monument to him in the piazza, in recognition of his sensitivity and his love for this land. Politics then divided the Grossetani from the Grand Duchy, Grosseto actively participated in the Risorgimento, and helped by Leopoldo II, started to be one of the many little Italian cities searching for an identity.