What You Can See
San Marcello Pistoiese
Of roman origin , in the high Middle age expanded around the watch tower , which then became the bell tower of the church. The Romanesque church , altered in the 17th century , contains the remains of Saint Celestina , patron of the town and protector of the mountain , celebrated on8th September, day in which every year a big balloon , based on the original design by the Montgolfier brothers is launched . Piazza Matteotti is the main square ; it is overlocked by ancient buildings. Just outside the village you can visit the Oratory of San Rocco , built as a mark of gratitude to the Saint after the plague of 1600. From 1800 San Marcello became famous with summer tourism . Today it is the main town in the mountain and highly appreciated centre for all services.
Surrounded by chestnut woods , the old medieval nucleus is still intact . The history of the village is linked to Francesco Ferrucci , leader of the Florentine republic militia , who died on3rd August 1530 , after a bloody battle against the imperial troops. The equestrian statue in the square and the museum are dedicated to the hero. Inside the old church of Santa Maria Assunta , built in the 12th century , are preserved : the beautiful marble holy water font from the 16th century , wooden sculptures , two polychrome works in glazed terracotta by Benedetto Buglioni , from the Della Robbia school and 19th century organ by Cesare and Luigi Tronci
It was one of the most important centre in the mountain between 10th and 14th centuries. The old church, the palazzo pretorio and the Pilgrims’ Hospital were destroyed by a land slide in 1814. Today the village is famous for its “Murales”, decorating buildings ,painted by the artists of the Gruppo Donatello since 1985 ; they narrate mountain life. In the restored church there are precious works in glazed terracotta dated from 1500.
It is a small medieval hamlet completely immersed in the woods of the Apennines. Built in the Longobard era , it developed after 1368 , when it became the centre of mountain magistracy. In remembrance of that period the Palazzo pretorio remains . On its facade 95 stone and terracotta coat of arms marked the passage of the captains between 1400 and 1700 and a large Medici coat of arms is situated above the entrance portal. In the churches of Madonna Della piazza and San Bartolomeo lots of works from 1500 are preserved.
In the 11th and 12th centuries , it was a fortified castle situated along the road that linked Pistoia to Garfagnana .The are two churches in the village : the church of Santissima Annunziata , founded by Matilde di Canossa and dated 1040 and the church of Santa Maria Assunta where the relic of the holy milk of the Madonna , brought back from the Holy Land by a crusader , is kept in the chapel of Madonna del Latte.
It was an old feudal property around the year 1000. For its strategic position on the border of Lucca, it was often the site of battles and destroyed many times.The Romanesque church of Santa Maria Assunta , built in 1271 , is one of the most important holy monuments of Pistoia mountain.
Few kilometres after San Marcello , towards Abetone , in the village of Le Ferriere , is situated the Hanging bridge , a long walkway linking the two banks of the lima river. It was built in 1922 for the workers of the metallurgical company of Mammiano. It is 40 metres in the highest point and 220 metres long. It is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world and the longest in Europe.
Ponte di Castruccio
It is situated in Lolle, near Piteglio. It was built in the Middle age by Castruccio Castracani and marked the border between Pistoia and Lucca. Erected by one only vault, using river pebbles, on its left side, two buildings remember the two ancient custom offices where once the merchants paid duty.
Built in 1991, the astronomical observatory is situated in Pian De’ Termini, above Gavinana, on a plateau at an altitude of about 950 metres , in an excellent position for the observation of celestial phenomena. It has two semi spherical rotating domes with diameter of 5 metres , a 60 centimetres telescope and a well equipped hall for meetings and conferences. www.gamp-pt.net
It is a striking underground itinerary the one that curves around for two kilometers under the headquarters of the ex Smi Campotizzoro. It was built here in the 1930’s thanks to the imposing military architectural project commissioned by the Orlandos, a complex system of anti-airplane galleries built into the live rock twenty meters of depth to protect the population of the industrial city from bombardments and chemical attacks. Today, finally, the site has become accessible to the public. www.irsapt.it
The Ecomuseum of Pistoia Mountain
Opened in 1990 , it is made up of six open-air trails, which make it possible to discover the Pistoiese mountains through the marks that the relationship between man and the environment has left on the area over the centuries. Water and woodlands have supplied the row material and energy used by the local inhabitans to create simple and ingenious manufacturing plants in the form of iron works , ice works and mills. These structures have been restored and given new functions and have been turned into this experimental and innovative kind of museum , which has been emulated by many other areas in Italy. www.provincia.pistoia.it/ecomuseo
The Recovered Wood
Near the village of Mammiano basso, along the road towards Piteglio, you can admire a real natural spectacle. The “Bosco Ritrovato” is a beautiful botanic garden where you can walk between colours and flavours of vegetation. You can try to recognize most of the species, to search connections among plants and history, tradition, health, everyday life and animals. Dedicated to all people who love plants, flowers and nature with its silences.