In Tuscany there is an area in the Valleriana area, north of Pescia, that is called Svizzera Pesciatina (Swiss Pescia), a name inspired by the famous Swiss historian and economist Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi. A keen traveller during his life, he found many similarities with the alpine landscapes of his native country in this corner of Tuscany, fell in love with it and decided to retire here.
This area consists of ten medieval hamlets, known as castella, constructed in the local stone called pietra serena, which is still quarried in the area. The hamlets are Pietrabuona, Medicina, Fibbialla, Aramo, Sorana, San Quirico, Castelvecchio, Stiappa, Pontito and Vellano. There is actually also an eleventh one, Lignana, of which only a few ruins remain.
The landscape is perfect for walking. A popular trail connects the ten castella, each surrounded by areas of untouched nature, and the characteristic oak and chestnut woods. The route starts from Pietrabuona, following the river Pescia and it's about six hours long. This is not, of course, the only way to reach the ten castella, they can be accessed also by a paved road.
Here are short descriptions of the ten castella.