By Francis Brian. McArdle
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Additional info for Altopascio: A Study in Tuscan Rural Society, 1587-1784
In an undated letter, written probably around 1631, the people of Altopascio asked Grand Duke Ferdinando II for a special favor. The dreaded plague had penetrated the surrounding area on two occasions, they wrote, yet, by the mercy of God, Altopascio had been spared both times. To preserve the memory of this miraculous protection, the villagers agreed to erect a chapel in honor of God The Estate of Altopascio 35 and San Rocco (Fig. 12). ' The estimated cost of the proposed chapel, however, exceeded 300 scudi.
More important still, the Padule of Fucecchio was the drainage basin for the whole low-lying area called the Valdinievole, whose waters were then drained by the Usciana into the Arno. The efficiency of this drainage line effectively controlled the fertility of the lands of the estate. If the flow of water in the Arno or the Usciana or the padule became restricted and the water level rose, then the intricate network of drainage ditches that ended in the padule would become blocked, causing sterility to the undrained lands on which freshly planted crops would languish before reaching maturity.
135, 154, 200, and designed between 1706 and 1709. The important point is that these houses were the planned product of professionals employed by the Royal Possessions, and not spontaneous peasant creations. In fact the instructions sent from Florence carefully controlled all specifications like the thickness of the wooden beam. 7 At the mill, also leased by the estate to private individuals, the peasants and foreigners came to grind their grain into flour. Over the entire period under consideration, the peasants were regularly instructed to frequent the estate's mill, although the instructions emanate from the fact that the peasants took the grain elsewhere whenever possible, prob7 That is, in houses of this design.
Altopascio: A Study in Tuscan Rural Society, 1587-1784 by Francis Brian. McArdle