When we came to Pescia for the first time to look at a few houses for sale, we found a part of Tuscany that we were not familiar with, but we immediately fell in love with it.
This area is peaceful, since little there is little tourst developement, and is not far from the famous hotspots like Florence, Pisa or Lucca. There are many sights that one can enjoy in peace.
From La Gioiella, our property, you can reach the sea in 50 minutes or the center of Florence in an hour.
The name Svizzera Pesciatina was given to this area, as it reminds us of the mountainous environment in Switzerland. The town of Aramo is one of ten medieval stone villages, which has retained its origin and character from the time it was established. In addition to the town of Aramo there is: San Quirico, Castellvecchio, Stiappa, Pontito, Sorana, Vellano, Pietrabuona, Medicina and Fibialla which all belong to the group of ten medieval villages that make up the area of Svizzera Pesciatina.
It is common that all these villages are situated on the top of a hill. This gives a wonderful view into the landscape. If you are to travel by car, the car is to be parked in front of the entrance to the village, steep paths and many steps have to be crossed to the village center being well-preserved. It gives you the feeling of being put back into another, calm and adventurous time.
Tip: we recommend a tour by car from Aramo via San Quirico to Castelvecchio to Velano, to stay in these places visiting the church of Castelvecchio with its famous frescoes and the bar of the Ristorante Da Sandrino in Sorana and finally returning to La Gioiella via Vellano and Pietrabuona.
Pescia has about 20,000 inhabitants and is divided by the river Pescia. To the left of the city the majority of the public life takes place and to the right part, is the traditionally religious part of the city. Pescia offers everything a city of its magnitude has to offer. The one of the special things about Pescia is the marketplace. Every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm, the main square, Piazza Mazzini, named after an Italian politician of the 19th century who fought for a democratic unification of Italy, is full of different booths, offering all kinds of household and clothing items. At the upper end are a few traders who offer food, while at the Piazza del Mercato, the fruit and vegetable traders are operating their market stalls. Every 4th Sunday of the month, with the exception of the Easter Sunday, there is held an antique market on Piazza Mazzini. Both, private collectors and dealers, offer their goods. We have often found a few things here that we have used for La Gioiella.
For those who want to drink one of the city’s best cappuccinos, either visit the café Franko at the main square, or head towards the new flower market at the Pasticceria Toscana in Viale Guglielmo Marconi 69. The flower market, which is located in the modern hall, is the second largest flower market after Holland. Pescia has the additional title “città dei fiori” or city of flowers.
A visit to the museum with the works of the sculptor Libero Andreotti in the Palazzo della Podestà from the 13th century on Piazza del Palagio 6, is definitely worth it. Should you just want to uncover the typical Italian small town, you can walk through the narrow streets and enjoy the daily life of Pescia as the inhabitants do.
The neighboring town of Pescia, on the way to Lucca, is called Collodi. It is famous for the wooden figure Pinocchio, whose spiritual father was born and grew up in Collodi. In Collodi, Pinocchio has a year-long amusement park, but that is still fascinating to people of all ages. In the immediate vicinity of Pinocchio Park is the entrance to the park of Villa Garzoni. In addition to a beautiful garden, Villa Garzoni, has a Butterfly House that leaves a lasting impression.
The enchanting old town of Collodi lies above the Villa Garzoni and is worth the strenuous walk.
In the immediate vicinity of the mercato fiori in Pescia, in Via del Tiro e Segno 55, in 51012 Castellare di Pescia, is a 3rd generation family enterprise, which specializes in the cultivation of citrus fruits. In the so-called Hesperidarium, the family Tintori produces a selection of over 200 different citrus plants from all over the world. Accompanied by classical music, you can admire citrus fruits in their different shapes and constellations. In the small shop you can also purchase books about the history of citrus plants in Tuscany, which the family Tintori has written and translated into many different languages.
You can find more information about this impressive family business at www.giardinodegliagrumi.it
Driving from Pescia via the road to Lucca, you can visit the two villas, Mansi and Torrigiani. They are located about 7 km (4,4 miles) before Lucca and are located on the right side of the road facing the mountains.
The Villa Mansi is only visible from the outside, but the park-like garden offers a variety of impressive old trees. The seasonal opening hours are available on the Internet. The telephone number is: +39 0583 920234
The Villa Torrigiani, on the other hand, is available to tour from the inside as well. This villa is full of impressive frescoes in bright colors and a outdoor parc that makes for a for a very pictursque visit. Should you have more question about Villa Torrigiani please inquire about seasonal opening times on the Internet.
Every third weekend of the month, Lucca is home to a truly remarkable antique market, which stretches from Piazza Napoleone to the Chiesa di Santi Giovanni e Reparata and Piazza S. Gusti. The best way to get to the city by car is through the Porta San Pietro and where you can typically find parking. It is no more than 5 minutes by foot to the first stand and immediatly you enjoy the unique atmosphere of old and beautiful antiques to the fullest. Lucca has so much to offer, so we recommand you to have a look at a guide in advance.
Tip: If the Sunday falls on the first day of the month, this weekend is already the first weekend. Thus the antiques market would already take place on the 14th and 15th of this month.
There is actually a village called Monte Carlo in the immediate vicinity of Pescia, which was founded by the later Emperor Charles IV and named after him. The charming old town is located on a single hill and offers a beautiful view of the plain of the province of Lucca. Especially during warm summer nigths, the charm of this old town invites you to take part at wine tastings in wine shops. Something else worth checking out are the performances in the little Teatro di Rassicurati.
The town of Pistoia is a well-kept, old town, full of impressive buildings. Take a walk through the pedestrian zone and inquire about the Duomo square with its historic buildings such as the Cathedral of San Zeno e Jacopo, the Baptistery, the Palazzo Pretorio or the Palazzo Comunale. You can take a look at the cafe located at the Piazza di Duomo in the Palazzo della banca dei monte dei paschi di siena. Have a look inside the cafe. Worth seeing!
Not far from Florence, near the town of Barberino, is the Baberino Designer Outlet Florence from McArthur Glen at the foot of the Apennines. In addition to Prada, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana and Polo Ralph Lauren, there are many Italian brands as well. This outlet has over 130 shops all at a great price. In addition to the search for bargains in the shops, this beautiful outlet offers many oppurtunities to relax: they have numerous cafes and restaurants. A daily shuttle service leaves from Florence and takes only 30 minutes to get to the outlet.
More information about this outlet can be found at www.mcarthurglen.com/it/barberino-designer-outlet/it. The outlet is located in Via Meucci snc in 50031 Barberino di Mugello. Have fun shopping!
The nearest restaurant of La Gioiella, is the Ristorante La Pieve which is located in Via Communale 1 between San Quirico and Castelvecchio, offers excellent pizzas and traditional Italian cuisine. The small selection of Dolci is also not to be dimissed. The telephone number is: +39 0572 400270. The best way to inquire about the current opening hours is to have a look in the Internet. The restaurant is 10 minutes’ drive from La Gioiella.
The Ristorante Da Sandrino, in Via Ponte di Sorana 34, in Sorana, is a traditional Italian restaurant run by the family with a passion for food and the highest quality standards. The telephone number is: +39 0572 407014. The best way to inquire about the current opening hours is to have a look in the Internet.
The Ristorante Pizzeria “Da Carla” in Ponte di Castelvecchio is a rustic restaurant with an extensive menu and specialties from the famous white bean, fagiolo di sorana. It is not surprising, because the Ristorante is located in the middle of the cultivation area of the white bean. On the way over San Quirico you can see the numerous bean-sticks stick out of the fields, where the green plants grow at the appropriate time of the year. The Internet address is: www.ristorantedacarla.it.
If you are looking for a taste of a typical Italian inn, then you can visit the Ristorante e Pizzeria I Tre Angeli, Via Garibaldi 61 in Pescia, during the lunch time from 13 to 15.30. There is excellent food at small prices.