Built on the eastern side of the hills of Leghorn, Gabbro has medieval origins too. It is never mentioned as a castle in documents - in the fourteenth century it was defined as ‘rural hamlet’. This agglomeration probably inherited the population of the nearby castles of Torricchi and Contrino, which were destroyed during the Late Middle Ages.
Its name (from the Latin term glabrum) refers to the bareness of the soil, rich in volcanic rocks - the ‘gabbro’, precisely, was so named in honor of its hamlet. The hillock on which the town stands is called ‘Pelato’, which is similar.
From 1547 onwards, the House of Medici attempted to colonize this area repeatedly in order to increase the agricultural production necessary for the development of the center of Leghorn. The grand-ducal interest is also shown by the remains of several water mills, dating back to the same period, which stood along the upper valley of Botro Sanguigna and were part of a larger production system created to give wheat to Leghorn, which was set to become the main industrial center of Tuscany.
The close link with Leghorn is symbolized by Villa Mirabella, which is a rich and spectacular eighteenth-century residence located on top of a hill at the entrance of the village. It is the only example of Renaissance architecture in this area and can be compared with the villas in the hinterland of Pisa and Lucca. It was the country house of the Finoyet (which will be later called Finocchietti), a French family who moved from Savoy because of the favorable economic conditions offered by the port of Leghorn.
Gabbro’s name probably recalls the one of Silvestro Lega, a Macchiaioli painter who lived there from 1886 to almost his death and who immortalized these landscapes and inhabitants in his paintings.