Main city of the Maremma area, Grosseto is one of the few county boroughs (with Ferrara, Bergamo and Lucca) which has the old city center surrounded by an undamaged fortified wall, that has resisted through the centuries.
The local area was inhabited since the Prehistoric Ages, but the first documents that evidence the life of the city are only of the X century. The growth and the development of Grosseto is connected to the decline of the antique city of Roselle, destroyed by the Vandals and the Saracens in 935. The city was ruled by the Aldobandeschi till 1224; then it was conquered by the army of Siena, that also defeated all the rebellion attempts over the years of its dominion.
After the treaty of Cateau Cambresis and the fall of Siena under the dominion of Florence of the Medici, Grosseto became a fortress. During the period of the building of the fortified walls, the Moat Office was created with the intent to intensify the reclaim of the lands and the building of new roads.
The Medici neglected Grosseto and its lands and only with the arrival of the Lorena Family, thanks to Pietro Leopoldo, the county was separated from Siena and finally received a new political and economical order.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is, without doubt, the most interesting monument of the city. It was built on the ruins of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta; the façade, partially amended with the refurbishments of '500 by Lari, recalls the Romanesque style in the gallery and the rose window. The symbols of the four evangelist apostles in the lower part of the frame of the rose window, the large Gothic windows, the pillars and the South door are all masterpieces of the sculptor of Siena "Rustichini".
The Church of San Francesco, originally an important Benedictine convent, has an extremely simple architectonic layout. The only ornaments are the frame that runs around the whole roof, the pointed arch windows, a round window and a canopy over the main door that ends in a half moon shape plaque, that proposes a painting of the Madonna and Baby Christ, painted by the artist "Casucci", who also organized the building of the bell-tower, restored in 1927.
Not to miss: the Medicea Fortress, built in the second half of the '500, the stronghold of the North-East section of the walls; the Medicee Walls, built in a hexagon shape in 1574 on request of Francesco I, and surround the Old City center; Palazzo Aldobrandeschi, actually the seat of the Province; the Town Hall, the Salt House, The Old Court House, today seat of the Archeological and Art Museum of the Maremma; and Palazzo Tognetti, built in Liberty syle.