The history of Fucecchio, a castle founded on the left bank of the Arno, is strongly linked to its position. It stood on the point where that important waterway crossed the most highly frequented terrestrial route of the Early Middle Ages, the Via Francigena, which crossed the whole of Tuscany from north to south. In correspondence with this important junction of water and land routes, one of the major noble families of 10th century Tuscany, the Cadolingi, founded an abbey and a castle, the castle of Salamarthana, later Ficeclo. For centuries Fucecchio maintained that strategic role that made it a focal point, disputed by various competing powers throughout the Middle Ages. When Leonardo depicted Fucecchio in the early 16th century in his famous bird's-eye view of the Arno Valley (Windsor Castle RL 12685), he observed it at the point in time when the ancient Cadolingian castle had already been transformed into a large, walled village, strengthened by the 14th-century Rocca Fiorentina and dominating, with the other villages newly strengthened at the time of the 14th-15th century wars, a desolate rural landscape.