Why is the Rocca in such conditions? What is the association doing to save it? How can I help?
A bunch of constantly updated q&as explaining everything you need to know about the association Pro Loco Ripafratta “Salviamo la Rocca” aps and the restoration process of the Rocca di Ripafratta. Click on the question you are interested in to expand and read the answer.
Last update: 17 february 2022.
Historic preservation of the Fortress
We can say it is not in optimal conditions. The last structural analysis have been done long ago. Large and visible cracks cross the external walls and infesting plants have invaded the interior space and "attacked" the structure.
The Pro Loco Ripafratta "Salviamo La Rocca" is authorized by the Municipality of San Giuliano Terme to make guided tours of the historical heritage of the territory of Ripafratta, obviously non-profit. Visits to the Rocca (which follow an external path), to the village of Ripafratta and its surroundings are very requested and participated experiences. They are held on the two days of the Festa della Rocca (second weekend in September) and on other occasions throughout the year, which are announced from time to time.
The association also promotes longer excursions In collaboration with the Cooperativa di Comunità di Ripafratta, to discover the other nearby fortresses, all part of the same belt of medieval fortifications of the border of Pisa-Lucca.
All guided tours, excursions and initiatives of the association are communicated here on the official website or on the Facebook page.
The Municipality of San Giuliano Terme (PI) officially owns the Rocca since 27 april 2021.
It has long been owned by private individuals, until, even after a decade of mobilization campaign promoted by Salviamo La Rocca and citizens, the Municipality of San Giuliano Terme decided to purchase it, in view of a recovery path, by a unanimous vote of the City Council. The purchase has happened also thanks to a substantial economic contribution from the Regione Toscana.
We do not ask nor have we ever asked the Municipality of San Giuliano Terme to bear the costs of the renovation of the Rocca. It will require the involvement of institutions such as Region and Ministry of Culture, and the ability to plan to obtain funding.
We have always asked, however, the Municipality to be promoter of the long and articulated process of recovery of the good. With the decision to buy the Rocca directly, the Municipality has done even more. It will however now be necessary for the agency to take possession of the surrounding land.
The ownership of the Rocca is limited roughly to the building itself, and is surrounded by two additional private lands. As it is easy to guess, if you want to achieve a recovery (and therefore to clean the vegetation and make it safe) it is vital to have the availability of the spaces that flank the historical good from all sides, and of course a way of access. The Municipality has long established contacts with private owners, but has not yet reached any concrete agreement; on several public occasions, the administration has indicated its intention to proceed with determination to acquire these spaces.
In 2017 the Department of Energy, Systems, Territory and Construction Engineering of the University of Pisa, the municipality of San Giuliano and Salviamo La Rocca signed an agreement, under which the Department worked on a recovery project, articulated in more phases, that includes also a managerial deepening.
On the basis of a proposal presented by Salviamo La Rocca, in 2019, the University, the Municipality and the association signed a memorandum of understanding and formed a "Promoting Committee for the recovery of the Rocca". The Committee, had the task of identifying the best ways to get to the recovery of the Rocca and producing a feasibility study based on the project carried out by the Department.
The Organizing Committee is chaired by Prof. Ing. Marco Giorgio Bevilacqua, of the University of Pisa.
At the moment there is no real executive project. However, the Promoting Committee (see previous item) has drawn up a programmatic document, a sort of road map with important structural and economic insights, called "Strategic Program for the recovery of the Rocca di Ripafratta", presented in March 2022. Funds research activities will be developed in the coming months on the basis of this program to be able to perform cleaning, surveys, archaeological studies, safety of some parts and finally the actual design.
In February 2022, the municipal administration of San Giuliano nominated Ripafratta in the context of an important call for urban and cultural regeneration aimed at small villages. Beyond the success or not of this application, the funds coming from the PNRR calls could be important opportunities, which the Promoting Committee is monitoring and will evaluate from time to time.
This is a oftenly asked question, given the great activism of the FAI at the national level. The FAI owns a number of assets in Italy, but operates mainly through awareness and promotion. Every year it organizes visits such as the FAI Spring Days, which in 2018 was also attended by the Rocca di Ripafratta, seen by over 700 people in one day. Or initiatives like I Luoghi del Cuore, every two years, in which we participated for the 2018 edition, reaching the 5th place in Tuscany.
The average amount collected by crowdfunding in Italy is rather low for the needs of recovery of the Rocca. Certainly not adequate to cover the big costs of safety. However, it could be a useful tool to finance a small part, even symbolic, of the recovery and to further sensitize the population and any other private donors.
In any case, any amount collected through a crowdfunding initiative should be accompanied by significant funding from other public and/or private entities.
"Salviamo la Rocca" association and its activities
The Pro Loco Ripafratta “Salviamo la Rocca” aps is a local non-profit organization.
Founded in 2012, it has gathered and channeled the efforts of Ripafratta's citizens to safeguard the Fortress and stimulate the touristic organization of the territory; it also works for the collection and dissemination of historic informations, traditions, studies, and to enhance the sense of community of the inhabitants.
Pro Loco Ripafratta "Salviamo La Rocca", also know as "Salviamo La Rocca" ("Let's Save the Fortress") has joined the Union of Italian Local Tourist Organizations UNPLI in 2020. Its headquarter is located in Statale Abetone road, 264, inside the "Civic Centre" of Ripafratta, that the association manages
Citizens like you. Many live in Ripafratta but not everyone, because the Fortress and Ripafratta are common goods that belong to the whole territory. Find out who we are here.
The Festa della Rocca e del suo territorio ("Festival of the Fortress and of its territory") is a public event held every year on the second weekend of September, organized by our association in Ripafratta.
The Festival includes events made to experience the territory in all its aspects: guided tours to the Fortress and to the village, hikes and excursions, walks, river rafting in the Serchio, historical archery, orienteering, open air activities and sports, music and good food.
Becoming a member of Pro Loco Ripafratta "Salviamo La Rocca" is easy: you only need to download the registration form, fill it out, sign it, and send it to our e-mail address. You can also contact us and sign up in person at our headquarter.
You will then have to pay the yearly association fee, which is 10€.
You can find the full process and the form here.
You can donate online via Paypal, bank transfer or cash (during one of our events). Here you can find more infos.
All the funds received by the association are used for initiatives of historical dissemination, for the organization of public events (visits, excursions, Festa della Rocca, conferences, meetings) and for the promotion and enhancement of the territory (printing of tourist brochures, "adoption" of public spaces to rescue them from decay, information and reception of visitors).
In 2020, for example, we printed numerous copies of an information booklet for our visitors, and we edited "Rovine Vive", a booklet by our vice president Enrico Bustaffa, that narrates the genesis and development of the Fortress during the Middle Ages. With a co-funding of the Municipality, we also designed and built a series of tourist signs located in some strategic points of Ripafratta. In addition, the association has adopted and recovered a flowerbed near the river Serchio, which today serves as a "welcome" for those arriving in Ripafratta.
Of course, the daily operating of the association also requires funds: from bureaucracy to communication, to the management and maintenance of our headquarter, the Civic Center of Ripafratta. The work done by members and directors is entirely voluntary.
Cooperativa Ripafratta is a "community cooperative" established in 2020 by our association, which is in fact its founding member. Community cooperatives are small cooperative companies, whose partners are the inhabitants of a local community (we have currently over 60 partners-members).
The aim of the company is to provide services to the community of Ripafratta and to the visitors, to make this area a more beautiful place to visit and an easier one to live. The first project of the Ripafratta Cooperative was the reopening of the historic Bottega di Ripafratta, a typical grocery store, which had recently closed after decades of activity. "La Bottega di Ripafratta" was opened by the cooperative on December 21st 2020, thanks to the work and financial effort of the members. Together wit our "Salviamo La Rocca" associations, the cooperative also organizes popular tourist activities, such as excursions and walks to discover the Ripafratta territory.
To find out more visit the official website of the Ripafratta Cooperative (ITA only).
Fortezze di Confine is a project launched by four associations that deal with historical heritage in the territory of Pisa and Lucca: Pro Loco Ripafratta "Salviamo La Rocca", Gruppo Archeologico Vecchianese, Associazione "Il Castello" from Nozzano, Italia Nostra Onlus from Pisa. The aim of the project is to promote the entire medieval fortified system between Pisa and Lucca that is located in the Serchio valley. Some of the historical sites of this system are the Fortress of Ripafratta with its towers, the "Torre dell'Aquila"in Filettole, but also the Castle and fortified village of Nozzano, the ruins of Castel Passerino over the Cerasomma village, the tower of Avane, and the sanctuary of Santa Maria in Castello in Vecchiano.