Vernio is a scattered municipality in a mostly mountaineous area, rich in streams and dense in vegetation, which due to the varied nature of its little wooded hamlets proves an enjoyable summer destination for those in search of relaxation. Situated beside a large bend in the Bisenzio river, the Apennine watershed runs through the hamlets. The earliest settlements documented in this part of the Bisenzio Valley date to Ancient Roman times.
Some significant social and historic changes took place locally between 1924 and 1934 with the construction of the long Apennine tunnel along the Florence-Prato-Bologna highway, sparking job opportunities for the entire valley, putting an end to the seasonal migration into Maremma and Corsica. In the 1950s, big farms and the figure of the farmer ceased to exist. Major changes occurred after the valley’s main textile mills closed down.
The Vernio area includes the hamlets of Terrigoli, Cavarzano, Costozze, Le Confina, Mercatale Vernio and Montepiano, a popular summer resort with its Badia and in a grassy space near Casa del Mulino Bruno Saetti’s Sun sculpture. San Quirico is the capital of the municipality, home to the Casone dei Bardi, now the town hall, the Oratory of San Niccolò and the MUMAT Museum. In Sant’Ippolito visitors can explore the Romanesque Pieve dei Santi Ippolito e Cassiano. Between San Quirico and Sasseta there’s the Rocca di Vernio complex, now privately owned. Also worth seeing in Vernio is the Church of San Leonardo e San Quirico, while for hiking lovers it’s certainly worth setting out in the Alto Carigiola area and up to Monte delle Scalette.
Among the blessed and the demons
The legends and stories that run with the River Bisenzio
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