Grosseto - Encyclopedia




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GROSSETO, a town and episcopal see of Tuscany, capital of the province of Grosseto, 90 m. S.S.E. of Pisa by rail. Pop. (1901) 5856 (town), 8843 (commune). It is 38 ft. above sea-level, and is almost circular in shape; it is surrounded by fo_tifications, constructed by Francis I. (1574-1587) and Ferdinand I. (1587-1609), which form a hexagonal enceinte with projecting bastions, with two gates only. The small cathedral, begun in 1294, is built of red and white marble alternating, in the Italian Gothic style; it was restored in 1855. The citadel was built in 1311 by the Sienese. Grosseto is on the main line from Pisa to Rome, and is also the starting-point (Montepescali, 8 m. to the N., is the exact point of divergence) of a branch line to Asciano and Siena.

The town dates from the middle ages. In 1138 the episcopal see was transferred thither from Rusellae. In 1230 it, with the rest of the Maremma, of which it is the capital, came under the dominion of Siena. By the peace of 1559, however, it passed to Cosimo I. of Tuscany. In 1745 the malaria had grown to such an extent, owing to the neglect of the drainage works, that Grosseto had only 648 inhabitants, though in 1224 it had 3000 men who bore arms. Leopold I. renewed drainage operations, and by 1836 the population had risen to 2392. The malaria is not yet entirely conquered, however, and the official headquarters of the province are in summer transferred to Scansano (1837 ft.), 20 m. to the S.E. by road.

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