Cutigliano, a picturesque village in the Pistoia Apennines, rests on a spur at the base of Monte Cuccoloa. The town, which is still characterized by an aristocratic appearance that resulted from historical happenings over the centuries, is home to many top-quality ski resorts, well-equipped for winter sports but also perfect for summer holidays.
Cutigliano is a medieval town, making it perfect to explore on foot. One of its most attention-grabbing aspects as you walk through the winding streets is palazzo dei Capitani della Montagna and its multitude of noble crests: admire it from the shade of the 15th-century Loggia opposite the palace. The Church of the Madonna di Piazza, a short walk away from the town square, is from the same period. Continue your stroll beyond the residential center to Ponte alla Pallaia and the Church of San Bartolomeo. From here, you can head along a cobblestoned street that leads to the panoramic square of San Vito. The walk, evocative and shaded during the summer months, is around two kilometres long, adapted to all kinds of visitors and unfolding around you in a compendium of all the charm these mountains hold.
Once you’re in the area, it’s worth it to explore the surroundings of Cutigliano. You can begin by heading up towards Melo, a delightful town known for its abundance of blueberries and other wild fruit. From here, a road leads – not without difficulty – to the Doganaccia (at over 1,500 metres), the ideal place for winter sports enthusiasts and – in the summer – taking advantage of the numerous excursions that leave from here. One goes to the Croce Arcana Refuge (at 1,730 metres), where, once you’ve arrived, you can continue along the ridge and in about an hour you’ll reach the evocative Scaffaiolo Lake; or, in a few (strenuous) hours, you can get to the Libro Aperto (at almost 2000 metres), passing by a panoramic viewing point on the Cima Tauffi.
The Doganaccia is also reachable by the famous cable car (whose departure station was built on top of the ruins of the 14th-century Cacioli fortress, the stronghold that protected the ancient roads leading to Modena from the Passo della Croce Arcana), which also links Cutigliano to the Croce Arcana.
As you return down the mountain, Rivoreta is worth a visit, a tranquil village nestled on the slopes of the Libro Aperto. Once you’ve passed Pianosinatico, you must make a stop at the refreshing Sestaione fountain, after which you can head first to Pian degli Ontani and then the health resort of Pian di Novello. The last place to mention is Casotti in Cutigliano, where there are three historic ironworks, one of which is today no longer active in metal working but rather in making natural wool products.
Cutigliano is also one of the main stops in the Montagna Pistoiese EcoMuseum, sitting at the crossroads of four of the museum’s itineraries: culture and popular religion, agroforestry and everyday life, nature and iron.
Cover image credit: Serena Puosi