In Etruscan and Roman times, the Valdinievole was classified as a transit site, with some sacred resting places, as evidenced by a bronze piece of art from the 3rd century BC promachos of Hercules, found in 1887 at Castelmartini and today can be found at the city’s museum. Going back to the Roman archeological sites (Villa San Paolo at Pozzarello, Vaiano and Segalare), on the slopes of Monte Albano.
The settlement of the castle of Monsummano Alto is documented from 1260, but probably existed since the previous century, or, as some have suggested due to the topology from the Lombard era. The castle was at the center of battles between Florence and Lucca, with its final conquest in 1331. The flat area was swampy (which can still be seen today through the Fucecchio Padule, close by), which became a human settlement in the second half of the 16th century with the construction of several farms and houses. The lower section of the town dates mainly to the seventeenth century, when, after the miraculous apparition of the Virgin on 9 June 1573, the Grand Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany started the construction of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fontenova (1602-1605) as well as other buildings for the reception of pilgrims, such as Osteria dei Pellegrini, now the city’s Museum.
During the 19th century Monsummano Terme was home of writer and politician Ferdinando Martini (his villa is now the headquarters of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Twentieth Century) and of the patriotic poet Giuseppe Giusti. His birthplace and a memorial at the center of the square have both become dedicated to him. The monument also symbolizes his distaste for the clergy, showing the poet facing way from the church.
The city, after a flow emigration with the advent of Fascism, became a place of immigration in the years 1951-1961, mainly from southern Italy, passing rapidly from 9,708 residents (in 1,951) to 11,631 (1961), due to the footwear sectors rise