Montesummano Terme is located in the Province of Pistoia; it currently hosts a population of 20,000 people.
In this municipality, visitors can admire the Church of Santa Maria di Fontenuova (XVII century), the Parochial Museum, the Oratory of San Carlo and several natural thermal grottos. The hill on which Monsummano Alto stands was fortified at the end of the XI century in order to dominate and protect the wide area below, that stretched between the Fucecchio swamplands and the Valdinievole area.
Historical references first mention the castle in 1005; said sources prove that the part of the structure that once belonged to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Val D’Orcia came under the possession of a feudal lord called Ildebrando degli Aldobrandeschi. The castle was acquired by the town of Lucca in 1218, despite the fact that its inhabitants already enjoyed autonomous statutes.
Under Lucca, Monsummano became a fort that was placed in direct opposition with that of Montevettolini, which was instead controlled by the Florentines. Said castle, now a part of the municipality itself, was built in the twelfth century; it served as a shelter for exiled citizens of Florence and Lucca during struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines. Montevettolini was later controlled by the Ghibellines of Lucca, thanks to the efforts of Uguccione della Faggiola. Created as an anti-Florentine company, the League was forced to surrender to the military power of the Republic.
The new lord of Lucca, Gherardino Spinola, was in fact, responsible for besieging and conquering the two castles.
During the Medici era, the Montevettolini Castle enjoyed an era of prosperity. It became headquarters for the Medici hunting parties. On the other hand, the castle of Monsummano began to experience a period of inexorable decline, as the area became swamplands during the fourteenth century. The Medici family paid little attention to that particular rural area. Nonetheless, in 1602, the town of Monsummano was established. Following the miraculous appearance of a spring, the Grand Duke Ferdinando ordered the construction of the Shrine of Fontenuova. Monsummano Terme fourished around said structure.
In 1775, thanks to territorial reforms, the Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Lorraine, founded the ‘Comunitas of the Two Lands’ which included the two historic castles as well as the growing town of Monsummano Terme, which was named the area’s capital. A century later, the local economy flourished considerably thanks to the discovery of several thermal caves, which are now flanked by modern facilities.