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Quarrata - frazione di Tizzana


A reflection of past history: agricultural production, craftsmanship and traditions

Read the story of Quarrata on logo toscana ovunque bella Quarrata - Lace, filet, couches, armchairs and magic pitchers - Tuscany, Beautiful Everywhere Quarrata Lace, filet, couches, armchairs and magic pitchers Memories and old trades in Quarrata: legends and nostalgia for a living pastRead the story

Quarrata is the economic and administrative centre of a territory that is divided into two areas that are geographically distinct from one another: the first extends over the northern slopes of the Montalbano; the second, on flat ground coincides with the central part of the Valle dell'Ombrone of Pistoia.

The territory of the Commune of Quarrata, inhabited by Ligurians until the II century BC was probably crossed through by an Etruscan roadway, an indication of which can be seen in the place-name of Cecina, a locality between the two hamlets of Caserana and Vignole.

This itinerary linked the settlements of Comeana and Artimino with Marzabotto and then Bologna, surely of Etruscan origin. During the Roman Imperial age a roadway linking Quarrata with the south variant of the Via Cassia attests that at that time, this must have been the last operation of clearance of this part of the Pistoia plain. Reclamation and clearance of the marshy lands in the Valle dell'Ombrone was the premise for the distribution to the Roman colonists of the fertile plains, which enabled the subsequent urbanisation of the territory.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the work of reclamation and clearance of the land fell back progressively and the population was forced to leave the plain to take refuge up in the hills.

Only in the XI and XII centuries was there a revival of the agricultural activities together with some demographical growth. The new settlements testify to this: the 'pieve' of Quarrata, already known in 998 AD, the castle of Montemagno with the church of S Giovanni, registered from the middle of the XIIth century and the communes of Valenzatico and Tizzana, both dating back to the end of the same century.

The communes, though autonomous from an administrative point of view, were dependent on Pistoia politically, sharing its alternating fortune. The crisis of the communal system of Pistoia, unrelenting in the XIV century, particularly involved those on the northern side of the Montalbano, including Tizzana.

When Florence in 1329 re-conquered Pistoia, the castle of Tizzana was demanded as a pledge of security in view of all the debts of war contracted with the defeated town. In the second half of the fourteenth century, of the numerous fortified villages registered in the XIII, only the castle of Montemagno and that of Tizzana remained. They too, when the autonomy was lost.

During the XVIII century this territory administered by Tizzana and up to then left quite unchanged since the XIV century, changed its disposition radically; in fact, it was at the time of the Grand-Duchy of Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena that clearance of the plains was completed, while the 'via Pistoiese' was adjusted for the transit of vehicles and the churches which had become parishes.

In the Lorenese era and after the unification of Italy Tizzana was the administrative nucleus, losing this prerogative oto Quarrata only in 1880. the Commune however continued to be called Tizzana until 1959.

The territory of the commune of Quarrata, characterised by its traditional agricultural production and the expertise found in the handicraft enterprises, some going back to the last century, underwent substantial changes in the years following the second world war when in view of the diminishing agricultural aspects, the manufacturing activities increased.
The production of upholstered furniture has become a particular characteristic of Quarrata although the town is known also for the production of embroidered household linen. The technique of 'filet' was of considerable importance, introduced in the area by the countess Gabriella Spalletti who between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries transformed the farm of Lucciano into one of the most distinguished laboratories in the country.

The technique of 'filet' survives still today, thanks to just a few old craftswomen. The hills, still dotted around with villas and villages, conserve the traditional cultivation of vineyards and olive-groves, the sign of a deeply-rooted tradition. 

Montalbano, Serravalle Pistoiese


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