WELCOME TO VALDINIEVOLE
The Valley of Nievole river lies in the north west of the Province of Pistoia, covering an area which is about 380 squared km, the river Nievole being the main water course. This Area has a long history, as we know from many archeological finds dating back to Neolitic, indeed, and from Etruscan and Roman settlements, furthermore from the medieval castles and villages on thetop of all the hills surrounding this valley, from Leonardo to Pinocchio. Leonardo was born in Vinci, at the South East of this area, within the Montalbano area, a peculiar territory planted with olive groves and worldwide famous for the Genius and for his incredible oil; Pinocchio was created and invented by Carlo Lorenzini, who actually lived in Collodi, in the north west area of this territory, towards Lucca and surrounded by high hills who managed to keep the magic of his extraordinary tale, known everywhere in the world, as the wooden puppet. In this land, from Leonardo to Pinocchio, many areas can be spotted: from Padule Marshes area to the greatest spa in Tuscany (Montecatini terme), from the “Dieci Castella” to the Devotional itineraries; contemporary art museums and renaissance villas, castles and archistar future projects.
Throughout the Middle Ages the elevated position of this town above the road between Lucca and Florence helped it to prosper, while in recent times it prospered thanks to farming and commercial activities (cattle farming and silk-worms), and the manufacturing. Looking at the emblem of Buggiano, you will find a redbull with a typical lylium flower: indeed the market is one the oldest in the whole region.
Built in the middle Ages as a hospice for pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena: remains of a Xenodochio (such was the name for pilgrims hospices throughout Francigena) can be seen in the main square of Chiesina. Chiesina’s name means “little church”, as the hospice was called. The town developed in the second half of XVIII century, when the Padule marsh was drained.
The vast municipality of Lamporecchio, which sprawls across the middle of Montalbano Massif, includes several villages perched on the top of the ridge, and it skims the Padule di Fucecchio territory. Lamporecchio is famous for its typical and national famous biscuit, called “brigidino”, and – expecially in Italy – for “Masetto”, one of the most peculiar characters for Boccaccio’s Novels.
Larciano is the union of small communities occupying the Montalbano until Padule marsh since the IX century: the history of this county is designed by the Castle of Larciano happenings. The historic centre of the municipalità is the borgo of Larciano Castello, which was mentioned even inRoman Times. It later became a feud of the Counts of Guidi, before being annexed to Pistoia.
MASSA E COZZILE
The villages of this scattered municipality stretch from the foothills of the Apennines to the edge of the Padule di Fucecchio. Formerly they were separate, forst documented in roman tiomes and then from the 11th century onwards. For centuries they remained under the control of Lucca and were involved in Lucca’s struggles with Pisa and Florence.
Monsummano Terme is in northern Tuscany, in the province of Pistoia, halfway between Florence and Lucca, at the foot of Monsummano Alto hill that, with its fortress and mighty walls dominates the lower city that dates back to the Seventeenth century.
Around Montecatini This charming town reconfirms its role as the capital of thermal treatments and spas, where a vacation can be spent in total relaxation to recover full well-being.
Flourishing green parks, thermal establishments fully equipped with state-of-the-art technological facilities, a long-dated reception tradition: a whole set of win-win solutions able to guarantee visitors a most pleasant stay.
Pescia has ancient medieval origins. Throughout its length, the town is traversed by the river of the same name: this division gives rise to a very particular town plan. In fact there are two distinct districts: the religious centre, with the famous Cathedral, on the left bank of the river; and the political and administrative centre on the right bank, with the City Hall located in the extensive main square, Piazza Mazzini.
PIEVE A NIEVOLE
Pieve a Nievole is a small town located in the eastern- central side of Valdinievole and links Montecatini Terme to Monsummano Terme, on the main roads crossing the plain of Padule Marsh. The town sprang up around the parish church of Neure, told to be one of the earliest Christian settlement In the Valley.
This town built on the river Pescia reaches the northern tip of the Padule Marshland. It was built fairly recently, and all the area had been drained several times. Originally a joint municipality with the town of Buggiano, it took quite an advantage from the government and power on the territory from the Dukes of Lorraine, and became autonomous in 1883.
This small town lies halfway between Pescia and Buggiano, and has got its borgo, Uzzano Castello, perched on the hill covered by olive trees.
This town was first mentioned around 1000 and was a free county, before falling under the control of Florence in 1339.The main square is overlooked by the imposing, large Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo.
Completely surrounded by lush green countryside, amid vineyards and olive groves producing the best wine and the finest olive oil, lies the town of Vinci. It stands at the foot of Montalbano, a beautiful range of hills stretching between the Provinces of Florence and Pistoia, within easy reach of all the major Tuscan art cities (Florence, Pisa, Pistoia, Lucca and Siena). Originally a possession of the Guidi Counts, Vinci Castle dates from the first half of the 12th century.
Visiting this valley on your own, maybe with your family, maybe even strolling around with a handy map, is quite an experience to try: not that easy to find everywhere such a huge and diverse cultural and artistic offer. From the Apennines to the marshlands, from medieval thick walls to conceptual contemporary art.
From Leonardo to Pinocchio, indeed.
Find out some useful itineraries, divided into self catering itineraries and museums itineraries; seven themed museum tours: historic personalities, devotion, monumental buildings and gardens, technical civilization, contemporary art, archaeology, territory and its settlements. An extremely rich itinerary to be followed through local museums, which will unveil the inner and most remote parts of the Valdinievole valley.
You will be offered the unique opportunity to wander between past and present, from ancient eras to modern art and culture.