Pisan fortress of Marciana

Ancient fortress of Marciana the Pisan Fortress

The Pisan Fortress of Marciana (an ancient fortress) is characterized by four defensive towers. Built in the 12th century by the Pisan Republic, it is an important defensive bastion where the inhabitants of the area found refuge during enemy attacks, especially the pirate/Saracen incursions which were very frequent at the time, or during conflicts.

Later the Appiani restored and expanded it and, as we read in Ninci, “placed it in a better state of defense”, in the years 1450-57 with the addition of four bastions with arrowheaded masonry.

In the southern bastion there is a large ceramic jar where wine was kept and fermented. Found in the excavations of the Etruscan fortress of Monte Castello di Procchio in the 1970s.

The layout in the Fortress

It is possible to access the interior of the Pisan Fortress of Marciana, the massive quadrangular construction which has a vast room on the left, where the remains of a hearth can be seen on the ground which could have been a room used as a kitchen or guardhouse.

A large courtyard follows, at the end of which a small room still retains the vaulted ceiling.

The courtyard, recently restored, is often used during the summer festivals of Marciano for cultural meetings.

Not to be missed is the walkway that crosses the structure from the west to the north bastion; highest point of the Fortress, which shows us the island, from Marciana Marina to Enfola, Portoferraio, to reach Piombino.

Land of Marciana

In medieval Marciana, it was surrounded by walls and fortifications, in which three gates opened, of which however only very few traces remain today. One of these, in the vicinity of Palazzo Appiani, near the square and the chapel of the same name, is Porta Sant ‘Agabito. In the oldest part of the town, at the end of a small road lined with old houses, a stepped path flanked on the right by slender columns leads to the sixteenth-century residence of the Appiani. Due to the characteristics of absolute safety that Marciana presented, it was chosen by this family as a residence when the island became part of the State of Piombino. Under the house, a cave carved into the rock still retains the name of “Mint”, it seems that in this place the Appiani minted coins.

On the left, in the locality of “Le Tombe”, is the church of S. Francesco, built in 1622 by Grimaldo Bernotti. The facade, on which a small portal with a rounded tympanum opens, is framed by two pilasters surmounted by a triangular tympanum with toothed decoration. Shortly before, always on the left, there is a patrician house from the 14th-15th century. Above the door you can still see a sandstone coat of arms on which a lion is carved in the middle, a lion on the right and a shell engraved with Grimaldus Pernottus, the owner’s name, on the left. The Bernotti, who belonged to one of the oldest families of Marciana, were governors and justices of the peace and held civil and military positions. In a subsequent period a Pernotto Pernotti, was Napoleon’s ordinance officer, during the reign of Elba.


Marciana, lying on the slope of Monte Capanne, is organized at different heights in a series of blocks that intersect with each other with winding streets, dark ravines and stairways onto which numerous squares with fountains open. The slope on which the village of Marciana extends, due to the morphology of the land on which the inhabited center is developed, is remarkable.

Opening Hours Fortezza Pisana


22-23 and 24 October
from 14:30 – 17:30
Monday: 10:30 – 13:00 / 16:00 – 19:00
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 10:30 – 13:00 / 16:00 – 19:00
Thursday: closed
Friday: 10:30 – 13:00 / 16:00 – 19:00
Saturday: 11:00 – 13:00 / 17:00 – 19:30
Sunday 11:00 – 13:00 / 17:00 – 19:30

Cost of the ticket

full: € 2.00 (up to 14 years free)
cumulative 2 museums or 1 and fortress: € 3.00
cumulative 2 museums and fortress: € 4.00

Stree View

360 ° view of the Pisan Fortress of Marciana Alta

How to reach the Pisan Fortress (Marciana Alta)

To reach the Pisan Fortress, we must head to the Borgo di Marciana Alta, the fortress is easily identifiable, being built in a point of domination over the whole country.

We can reach it on foot, crossing the village (all pedestrian streets) or reach it by car, along the road that leads to the upper part of the village.

Pisan fortress position