A stroll through the centre of Pistoia
We begin in the historic centre of Pistoia, a city of Roman origins where you can admire piazza del Duomo, one of the most beautiful in Italy, overlooked by the elegant Cathedral of San Zeno, a spectacular Romanesque building which dates back to before the year 1000, with the typical black and white marble façade embellished with a 14th-century portico, later decorated with a terracotta lunette by Andrea della Robbia. Inside you can admire different artworks, including the silver altar of San Jacopo, made during the 13th and 14th centuries by the best goldsmiths of the time.
From here you can go and visit the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea where the pulpit of Sant’Andrea is kept, a masterpiece by Giovanni Pisano built between 1298 and 1301, featuring carved scenes of the life of Christ. You can’t miss out on a trip to the ancient Ospedale del Ceppo, one of the symbols of the city with its loggia embellished with magnificent Robbian decoration, nor to the former church of Tau, a 14th-century chapel frescoed with a particularly beautiful pictorial cycle.
The tour ends at Palazzo Fabroni, a house-tower transformed into a contemporary art centre with a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
Pinocchio Park in Collodi
The second day is dedicated to exploring Collodi, the town where Carlo Lorenzini spent his childhood, the reason for which he adopted the name of the village as a pseudonym for his works.
Here you can visit not only the Pinocchio Park, a journey through works of nature and art dedicated to the famous puppet, enjoyable for children and the adults who go with them, but also discover the beauty of Villa Garzoni.
The gardens are a true work of art and open up onto a stunning theatre, with water works, meticulous geometric structures toned down by greenery, comical, epic and fantastic statues, masks, fountains and a maze which, according to legend, brings luck to lovers.
Relax in the spa town of Montecatini
For the third day, go to Montecatini Terme, before visiting the medieval town of Montecatini Alto, which can be reached with a charming funicular, and from there you can enjoy a beautiful view of the entire valley.
Spend afternoons relaxing at the spas: the seven establishments (Excelsior, Redi, La Salute, Leopoldine, Regina, Tamerici and Tettuccio) offer a full list of regenerating treatments, created by experts and qualified medical teams. Those looking for the unique atmosphere of the Belle Èpoque can go to historic places like the Caffe delle Terme, Locanda Maggiore, the Gambrinus arcades and the frescoed and decorated Liberty-style buildings. (info: http://www.termemontecatini.it/en/)
Discovering Monsummano Terme and Grotta Giusti
We now move to Monsummano Terme to discover what Giuseppe Verdi described as the “eighth wonder of the world”, namely Grotta Giusti.
It is a 1,000-year-old cave which runs for over 200 metres underground: at the end of the cave there is a thermal pool which is 36 degrees and gives off healthy, therapeutic steam. Here you can experience a detoxing sauna with health benefits and also treat yourself to health and beauty treatments at the spa, where an area specialising in oriental practices offers specific treatments to rediscover your pyscho-physical balance.
Discovering the Padule di Fucecchio
We finish our trip in Valdinievole visiting one of the most beautiful natural areas of Tuscany: The Padule di Fucechio. Over 1,800 hectares of wetland, where 200 species of birds nest, including the purple heron and the black heron, you can also spot cranes, black storks and pink flamingos, the Knight of Italy.
Starting from the Visitor Centre located in Castelmartini, in the municipality of Larciano, you can take part in guided nature, historical and environmental tours to discover the Padule and all its environmental riches.