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CORTONA Specials - Out of town -
Pierle and Its Castle
The history of the Pierle valley is closely linked to the history of the magnificent castle ( la Rocca ) that dominates the countryside below.
In 1428, for the price of 1200 ducats, the Pierle valley bought its political, economic and legal independence from Cortona, under licence from the Republic of Florence. Soon after becoming a free Comune, the territory of the valley was divided into three areas known as ‘terzi’: Pierle. Mercatale and Lanciano.
From the records that have survived, the valley seems to have been a relatively inhospitable place. The river Niccone had no embankments so that heavy rainfalls often resulted in floods that would destroy crops, generating an overall condition of financial instability for the people. Many locals in fact resorted to alternative means of gaining a living, such as cattle farming or textiles – silk in particular. Trade was mainly with Cortona and the nearby Corbello county, often amid considerable hardship on account of the extremely poor road network of the region, which boasted only dirt roads and mule tracks.
Once embankments had been built along the Niccone, living conditions improved and the population grew, although the valley lost many of its privileges when it was once more annexed under the control of Cortona.