Logge di Banchi (Banchi Loggias), via di Banchi

Logge di Banchi da Ponte di Mezzo (M. Del Rosso, Comune di Pisa)
Logge di Banchi da Ponte di Mezzo (M. Del Rosso, Comune di Pisa)
Built starting from 1603, the Logge di Banchi (Banchi Loggias) were born at the behest of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici with the intention of transferring the grain market to the left bank of the river. The building was made even more monumental thanks to the destruction of the Loggetta del Bargello, the city prisons located near the river. The project was by Bernardo Buontalenti and was masterfully executed by Cosimo Pugliani who developed the building on 12 large pillars covered in marble. The upper floor, which is accessed via an overpass connected to the Palazzo Gambacorti, the location of the municipality, was enlarged in the 19th century to house the new State Archive (now in Palazzo Toscanelli) inaugurated in 1865. Different types of markets alternated under the loggia, from silk to wool, to exchange counters, which gave the loggia its name. In 1925, entrepreneur Cleopatro Cobianchi obtained the permits to build an underground daytime hotel, now public bathrooms, with showers, bathtubs and various services for personal hygiene. During the Gioco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), a historic city event, the Banchi (as they are called in Pisa) represent the Campo on the Southern part, where the fighters prepare for the challenge and where the most important strategic decisions are made.
In 1925, during the excavations for the creation of a daytime hotel, a treasure of ancient and medieval gold coins buried in the thirteenth century was found under the loggia. Only a few were recovered, now preserved in the Museum of San Matteo, others were stolen when they were found. The Cobianchi day hotel, now home to the public bathrooms, was inaugurated in 1926: from the large entrance hall, furnished with mirrors and velvet sofas, the visitors accessed two long corridors that housed various perpendicular rooms: the shower, bath and toilet, divided between 1st and 2nd class. In other rooms various services were offered to customers: barber, manicure, pedicure, laundry and ironing service. All the interiors were decorated with white and turquoise glass paste tiles, designed with geometric shapes, the appliances were in ceramic and the taps in brass. Today only a shadow of that beauty remains. The flooding of the Arno in 1966 caused considerable damage, which led to the closure of the day hotel. Only in 2000 the premises were restored.
Logge di Banchi was the set of some scenes from Carlo Mazzacurati's L’amore ritrovato (An Italian Romance) (2004) with Stefano Accorsi and Maya Sansa. Based on the novel Una relazione by Carlo Cassola, the film is set in Tuscany in 1936, between Pisa, Livorno and Cecina. The love story between Giovanni and Maria is crossed by the Ethiopian war and the Second World War. In a long period of time the two find each other, get lost, but never stop loving each other... In Pisa some scenes were shot on the Lungarni, in via San Martino and in the former day hotel Cobianchi, where the character Maria works.
Last update: 01/04/2021
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