By the end of the Modern Age the main towns of the Upper Arno Valley were fairly developed. Between the mid- 16th Century and the end of the 19th Century there was an important demographic growth and the population doubled. This, amongst other factors, was the starting point for the process of industrialization. The activities already present flourished and grew and new industries were born. Between the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century manufacturing and mining activities began to change the way the Arno Valley looked. New factories were built in the town. Montevarchi became a centre for the production of hats, San Giovanni for the production of glass and ceramics and Terranuova for the production of terracotta – continuing a centuries-old tradition. In San Giovanni Valdarno the ironworks plant was built –which had Vilfredo Pareto as one of its directors – while the lignite (brown coal) mines in Cavriglia provided fuel for the various plants. In 1907 a thermo-electric power plant was built in Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni which was able to provide Arezzo, Firenze, Siena and the Arno Valley with electric current.
The consolidation of a local middle class meant that stylistic innovations were implemented in the building sector and a series of Art Nouveau buildings sprang up. At the same time technological innovations were introduced by important companies such as Franco Tosi. This company realized the turbines for the plant in Castelnuovo where a young Pier Luigi Nervi worked; in the second half of the last century Riccardo Morandi built the great cooling towers of the new power plant in Santa Barbara.
The Arno Valley gives visitors the chance to discover its long history and travelling the roads of a land of work means unravelling the thread of economic, social, and urban evolution which made the Arno Valley into what it is today.
Witness accounts and traces of this history can be found Cavriglia at the MINE museum, the power plant and the mining village of Santa Barbara; in Loro Ciuffenna with the mill, the Magnozzi textile mill, the spinning factory and ironworks; in Montevarchi with the Art Nouveau villas -Villa Masini, Villa Galeffi, Palazzo Lazzerini- and its old hat factories which have been reclaimed and used for different purposes – La Famililare and the Filanda della Ginestra-; in San Giovanni Valdarno with the ironworks along via Peruzzi and the Bagiardi Furnaces, the Marconi Norton Glassworks, today seat of the centre of Geotechnology of the University of Siena, and the Briquette factory in Fondali at the Ponte alle Forche area; in Terranuova with the furnaces which today are a cultural space.
• Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni “MINE – Museo delle Miniere e del Territorio”, Merc/Ven 10-13, Sab/Dom 10-13/15-18, 055 3985046, Pagina del Museo
• Centrale termoelettrica
• Villaggio dei minatori
• Il Mulino Via del Molino Visitabile su prenotazione 055 9172319 (Sig. Giuseppe Parigi)
• La Filanda Magnozzi – oggi Auditorium Comunale Loro Ciuffenna Via Pratomagno 055 9170153
• La Filanda – oggi Sala Convegni e Esposizioni Via Ciuffenna, 4 055 9170153
• La Ferriera – oggi Residenza turistica Via Ferriera (Visibile dall’esterno)
Dal mercatale del XII sec. al Mercato Coperto degli Agricoltori
Lun/Sab 9-13 /16-20,30
Piazza dell’Antica Gora 055 9851425 www.ilmercatale.it
• La Filanda – oggi Ginestra Fabbrica della Conoscenza Via della Ginestra, 21, 055 910 8230
• Cappellificio La Familiare – oggi Residenza privata Via della Ginestra (Visibile dall’esterno)
L’architettura del primo ‘900
• Villa Masini Via Pestello 22-24, 347 6109529 (Sig. Bossini)
• Villa Galeffi Via A. Burzagli (Visibile dall’esterno)
• Spazio Espositivo Ernesto Galeffi Via Ammiragio Burzagli, 43 055 9108274
• Palazzo Lazzerini Via Dante angolo Via Trieste (Visibile dall’esterno)
SAN GIOVANNI VALDARNO
• Dal mercatale della Terra Nuova a Obiettivo Mercato della Terra, Viale Diaz – Ogni secondo sab. del mese Slow Food – Condotta del Valdarno 392 3682588
• Fornaci Bagiardi – oggi Residenza privata Piazza delle Fornaci
• Fabbrica di bricchette – oggi Azienda privata Ponte alla Forche – Loc. I Fondali (Visibile dall’esterno)
• La Ferriera ILVA (Visibile dall’esterno)
• La Vetreria Norton Marconi – oggi Centro di Geo Tecnologie Università di Siena, Via Vetri Vecchi 34 www.geotecnologie.unisi.it
• Le Fornaci – oggi Centro Culturale Auditorium, Piazza Le Fornaci, 37 – 055 9738838