Pietrabuona

Collodi and the Svizzera Pesciatina

Wonderful medieval villages in the Valdinievole

Both steeped in ancient history, Collodi and the Svizzera Pesciatina can be found on the borders between Lucca and Pistoia, a stones throw away from Pescia. The villages are nestled amongst fields of olives and surrounded by forests of chestnut trees, oak and black locust, in a territory which forms a circle of idyll around the city of Pescia.

Collodi is a small medieval hamlet, whose name is strongly linked to the return of Carlo Lorenzini (better known as Carlo Collodi), who lived there for the first years of his childhood. His life there, as well as those of the many people who lived there with him, greatly inspired his much celebrated book.

Most widely known for its Parco di Pinocchio, the Storico Giardino Garzoni and the Butterfly House, Collodi leaves its visitors enchanted. Tourists to the village are lead them through its wonderfully cherished small streets, amongst the remains of its fortifications, and through to the ancient citadel, where the Pieve di San Bartolomeo still stands, housing its much-valued organ.

Returning to Pescia, the next stop has to be Valleriana, re-named by the Genevan historian and economist Giancarlo Sismondi (1773-1842) as Svizzera Pesciatina. This new name was given in acknowledgement to the geographical features which the village sits on, principally the contours of its hills and its perching hamlets. The charm that Sismondi felt then, still remains today and only a few minutes are enough to become immersed in an area which is largely untouched, in which nature and history coexist in a unique way.

Walking through the Val di Forfora or the Val di Torbola, you can catch sight of the ten medieval “castella set in the ten villages which nestle in the hills one after the other: from Pietrabuona, gate and look-out post to the whole of Svizzera Pesciatina; to Vellano, Medicina, Aramo, Fibbialla, Sorana, San Quirico, Castelvecchio, Stiappa, and finally to Pontito.

The locations are especially valued as they protect many ancient traditions, from agriculture to craftsmanship, from cooking to art: Sorana beans IGP and chestnut-flour, paper, the paper mill, copper and its unique stone are just some of the products which remain integral to both the past and the present of these places.