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Pontremoli is a small city, comune and bishop's see in the province of Massa and Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. Literally translated, "Pontremoli" derives from "Trembling Bridge", with the commune having been named after a prominent bridge across the Magra.Pontremoli is in the upper valley of the Magra, 40km northeast of La Spezia by rail and 90km south-southwest of Parma.HistoryPontremoli is believed to have been first settled around 1000 BC. It was known in Roman times as Apua. The commune later became an independent municipality in 1226 thanks to Federico II who chartered the free municipality, partly because of its mountainous terrain. This terrain in the valley of the Magra also made Pontremoli a target for numerous conquests from rival Italian and foreign lords. Pontremoli was controlled by various aristocratic families, including the Malaspina (in 1319) and the Antelminelli (in 1322). The conflict between the rival Guelfi and Ghibellini factions in the early fourteenth century resulted in the construction of the Great Bell Tower (Il Campanone) to separate the rival camps. During these Medieval times Pontremoli was often visited by pilgrims travelling from Canterbury to Rome.In 1331 Pontremoli was sold by John I of Bohemia to Mastino II della Scala (Lord of Verona). Pontremoli was later taken over by the Visconti of Milan in 1339. In 1404 the ownership of Pontremoli once again changed hands as it was seized by the Fieschi family of Genoa. However, by 1433 Pontremoli was again under the control of the Milanese. In 1495 Pontremoli was sacked by the troops of Charles VIII of France. During this time Pontremoli was a territory owned by the House of Sforza, who were the new Dukes of Milan.
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