& Undiscovered Tuscany
Undiscovered Tuscany? Yes, it exists, in and around Pescia.
Vellano on a fall afternoon, 1 of Pescia's 10 "castella".
Just up the valley road.
Pescia is the heart of a relatively unknown Tuscany — a town once famous for its paper mills and silk cultivation — now, its charming main square, Piazza Mazzini, offers a relaxed lifestyle and atmosphere that is hard to find anywhere in Italy today. wiki
Pescia stretches along both sides of the Pescia River, divided into 4 neighborhoods (rioni). On the left bank of the river, Santa Maria and San Francesco — on the right side Ferraia and San Michele. Their rivalry is celebrated with a "palio", a competitive Tuscan neighborhood tradition.
The town and its area are known by a few names: Citta dei Fiori renown for its floral greenhouses exporting carnations, Valdinievole (historically its center), Valleriana and Svizzera Pesciatina, or Swiss Pescia, which reveals itself as the road climbs and winds up the foothills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
Pescia has many local festivals, including the colorful Palio degli Arcieri, Festival of Archers. It's held every year at the end of August.
Pinocchio Street Festival & San Bartolomeo in Collodi
August 23/24th is the festival of Saint Bartholomew, patron saint of Collodi.
Check the dates...
Followed by the Pinocchio Street Festival Senza Fili (Without Strings) with lots of street entertainment, local specialties, and great fun for all.
Valley of Flowers
Pescia is known as the City / Valley of Flowers, in the Valdinievole.
The 10 castella are historic hillside villages above Pescia, some dating abck 1,000 years. Vellano, Sorana (best beans!), Medicina, Fibbialla, Aramo, Castelvecchio, San Quirico, Stiappa, Pontito and Pietrabuona. The "castella" name comes from being shaped like a medieval castles.
There was an 11th castella, but it has disappeared, Lignana.
There are many lovely churches in Pescia and throughout the area, and the earliest are over 1,000 years old.
San Francesco has beautiful frescoes in the apse, above and around the altar. Across the street rom Teatro Paccini and the Poma Foundation.
Oratorio di Sant'Antonio Abate. Before the church of San Francesco is a forgotten oratory with even more amazing frescoes! It's always closed, BUT you can ask for the key at the hospital's reception desk across the street.
The middle age pilgrimage known as Via Francigena passes nearby, going from Canterbury, across Europe and the alps, through Tuscany to Rome and then on to Jerusalem.
An illustrated guidebook to the "forgotten" churches and oratories of the area is available in Italian: "Chiese e oratori della Valleriana" by Alessandro Birindelli. It includes over 400 images and describes 48 excursions.
The closest church is Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta in Castellare Via del Castellare, 24
Monday - Thursday 18:00
Sunday 09:30, 11:00