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Paperino: discovering the town’s treasures

This tiny capital of the Carnival boasts architectural gems

Along the Via del Ferro, you’ll find Via dell’Alloro that leads to the town of Paperino. This hamlet’s name is probably derived from the Roman settlement ‘Paperium’, although many scholars believe that its name recalls a specific kind of swampland grass that was very common in the area before its reclamation. The area boasts myriad tabernacles and chapels that bear witness to popular devotion. Its most important historical building is the Church of San Martino, constructed in the thirteenth century. Its nineteenth century façade gives the structure a somber, bell-shaped feel. Don’t miss viewing the church’s fourteenth century fresco by Florentine painter Francesco di Michele. Paperino also hosts various interesting towers such as the ‘Torre a Mattoni’ which still has its sixteenth century entrance and original family seal. The ‘Torre Armata’ is an embattled structure that’s part of an entire estate complex.

‘La Rugea’ in Via dell’Oro is also worth viewing, this aristocratic villa was property of the Arrighi Dynasty from the XVI to the XVIII century. It boasts various annexed structures including animal stalls, a granary, a silk-worm farm, a weaving room and an oratory dedicated to Saint Giovacchino (built in 1725). Paperino became famous on the Silver Screen thanks to a film with Francesco Nuti, Alessandro Benvenuti and Athina Cenci called ‘Ad Ovest did Paperino’. The town is well-known for its Carnival, one of the most interesting events of its kind in the entire Florence/Prato area. On Marti Gras expect parades with floats, music and a whole slew of carnival masks! Interestingly, the citizens of Paperino never fail to participate in an annual contest sponsored by the Carnival of Foiano della Chiana, the most important Tuscan carnival after Viareggio.

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