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La Montagna Pesciatina

From Piastre Collodi along the "Road of Lies"

Motorcycle Riding in Alp-like Mountains

"I've never seen such a lame road." Why start this itinerary out with a big fat lie? This itinerary is called the Liar's Route, in honor of the town of Le Piastre from which it starts and where the Italian Liars Championship is held each year, all the way to Collodi, Pinocchio's town, and it's all a lie... except the fact that it's tons of fun to drive.

Departure/Arrival: from le Piastre to Collodi
Distance: 38km
Duration: 1 day
Kind of road: mountain
Where: Province of Pistoia

Set your GPS: Le Piastre, Prunetta, Goraiolo, Vellano, Pescia, Collodi

This lie of an itinerary starts from one of the 12 fountains created in 1937 by Giuseppe Gronchi as advertising for Campari.... and that's the truth. Unfortunately the asphalt road was damaged by the winter weather and you will notice that on the series of tight curves and climbs, which require careful riding. 

The road offers a descent after Prunetta, and it remains a tough road. There's no middle road, it's narrow road and there are a few too many potholes. At km 12VIII- we cross the 44 parallel, which is followed by the town of Margine di Momigno, with narrow and tight curves. A few straightaways allow the rider to catch his breath and then we're at Femminamorta. At km20 there's a turn to the right for the Serra Pistoiese, a fort town where it's worth taking the time to visit the stone church of San Leonardo. Its organ is amazing, and there are numerous concerts there. The French Fries festival is a yummy excused to vsiit the town the last Sunday in September.

The road climbs and descends but the surface is terrible. Running along the crest, the Mammianese offers a great view on the Valdinievole: welcome to the Road of Flavors and Colors of the Pistoia Appenino. At km 22 Panicagliora has a surprise for us: the ruins of the medieval church of Sant'Andrea di Furfalo, so called Pievaccia. It's a fascinating place, worth stopping at and taking a walk. From here there are several walking paths that go into the Pistoia Mountains.The road reaches Goraiolo and continues on; stay to the right on SP3bis. The fir trees of the mountains are splendid. Macchino suggests turning off to visit the castles of Massa and Cozzile: it's a good idea but, otherwise, the road continues on to Vellano.Arriving in town, one's view is absorbed on the right by a campanile of the church of Santi Martino and Sisto, which comes out from nowhere just after a curve. The entrance is a bit farther on.

Vellano offers a view of the Svizzera Pesciantina, which owes its name to Jean Charles Leonard Simonde de Sismondi: the famous Swiss man who noticed a strong resemblance to the mountains of his town and who renamed this area. The Publio Biagini mine is discussed in the Mining and Digging Museum, where much can be learned about how stone was extracted from the caves at Vellano in the 1800-1900 period.

Finally the road improves and becomes more fun. There are tight turns and the road heading on to Pietrabuona is a breeze and good practice. Surrounded by olive trees, we cross the Pescia and head over to the other side of the valley. The city of flowers is straight ahead. From there, it's on to Collodi. Three reasons to turn off your engine: the Pinocchio park, the Butterfly House and the Garzoni Gardens. And that's not a lie! 

For information: www.provincia.pistoia.it, www.provincia.lucca.it, www.labugia.it, www.pinocchio.it.