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Villa Garzoni a Collodi

Pescia and Collodi: flowers, Pinocchio and printing

History and beauty in Tuscany

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This itinerary will take you through Pescia and Collodi, cities full of flowers, which also contain one of the oldest printing presses in Italy.

COMICENT – The flower and plant sale centre of Pescia is one of the greatest in Italy. Carnations, gladioli, chrysanthemums, lilies, roses, irises, ornamental plants, orchids and even olive trees can be found here. Tours for groups can be organised on request.

Porta Fiorentina and the Duomo – the Porta Fiorentina is a baroque triumphal arch, erected in 1732, which welcomes visitors into the town of Pescia. The Duomo, on the site of the ancient church of S. Maria Assunta (10th century), was completely restructured in 1726, and has a neo- Renaissance façade built in 1895. It was built in a Latin cross shape, with a single nave and seven chapels.

Piazza Mazzini and Palazzo del Vicario – A local market still takes place here, in the heart of the town, every Saturday morning. It is entirely surrounded by Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and is closed off from midday by the church of Madonna di Piè di Piazza and by Palazzo del Vicario, which is adorned with the coats of arms of Florentine vicars. It was completely restructured between 1888 and 1930. In the Loggia–Sacrario you can find a fresco attributed to Giovanni da Sangiovanni and a winged, bronze statue of Victory by Libero Andreotti.

The former Benedictine monastery of San Michele, and the ‘Benedetti’ printing press – the female conservatory of San Michele, an ex- Benedictine monastery, was an education centre for youth during much of the 1900s. Today it is a place for the promotion of cultural activities. There are many Tuscan works of art both inside and out. The Benedetti printing press, housed here, is one of the oldest in Italy, dating from the start of the 1900s, and it still works today.

Bonsai Museum
– An exhibition of beautiful Bonsai olive trees, cypresses and conifers, as well as exotic and rare plants from all over the world.

The Garden of Villa Garzoni and the Collodi Butterfly House - The garden in itself is a beautiful work of art, with games, waterfalls and geometric structures which stand in perfect harmony with the plants and flowers. Napoleon himself is said to have stayed in the villa, which is known as the Villa of One Hundred Windows. The garden houses the Collodi Butterfly House, a magnificent stone building and greenhouse where more than a thousand of the most wonderful butterfly species from around the world fly freely.

The Pinocchio Park – This is an essential part of any visit to Pescia. It can be found in Collodi, a historic village which looks just as it did a century ago, a small group of houses leading up to Villa Garzoni and its eighteenth century garden. It was here that the mother of Carlo Lorenzini was born, and where the author spent his childhood with his grandparents. Later, he chose to adopt the pseudonym Collodi, as it was here that the ideas and imagination for the Adventures of Pinocchio were born.

The Citrus Garden – With over 200 varieties of citrus fruit from all over the world, Hesperidarium is a unique botanic garden. It houses Medici collections, rare eastern varieties, and new plants from the southern hemisphere.