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Agliana | Tuscany Region


agliana piazza Tuscany 

Agliana is a town located on the plains between Prato and Pistoia I monumenti di Agliana. In the town of Agliana, with 15,000 inhabitants in the province of Pistoia, you can visit the Tower built in 1325 on commission by Castruccio Castracani, while in the surrounding area we can admire the church of St Peter, the Oratory of the Compagnia and the church of St. Michael.

A plain-lying town between Prato and Pistoia, Agliana has been part of the latter’s province only since 1927, though it gained autonomy in 1913. The area was originally populated in Roman times. The first inhabited nucleus was developed as a village in the early Middle Ages, when the little centre of “Alina” was built, whose name was probably linked to the nearby Agna River.

The town was, at least at the beginning, a fief of the Guidi Counts, feudatories of the Empire, then given up in part to the bishopric of Pistoia and in part to the Pazzis, a noble Florentine family. In the 14th century the Pistoian area was governed by Castruccio Castracani, to whom Agliana owes her first fortifications, prepared in 1325 during the Pistoian attack. The defences however did not save Agliana from being pillaged by Giovanni di Boemia’s armies some years later.

From 1401 the village became part of the Florentine Republic and was united in a podestà jurisdiction with the council of Montale, with which it alternated as capital. Its statutes of 1415 however show that Florence conceded a certain administrative autonomy to it. From 1776, with the Leopoldine reforms for the reorganisation of the territories of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, Montale was organised as an autonomous “comunitas” which included Agliana and her territories in its boundaries.

The town’s development is mainly due to its proximity to the Cassia, a communication road between Lucca, Pistoia and Florence. Its strategic position, combined with a strong anti-Fascist sentiment that characterised the people of Agliana, made the centre one of the bases of the partisan struggle in the Pistoian Apennines. The formation that freed the town on the 4th September 1944 was in fact called “Agliana”.

Cutigliano | Tuscany Region


cutigliano tuscany

Cutigliano is a medieval village in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and province of Pistoia. Sitting at 678 meters above sea level, it consists of the Municipal Palazzo, the 15th century church of the Madonna di Piazza and that of St. Bartholomew.

According to legend, the town of Cutigliano was founded by the Roman legionnaires from Catiline, in retreat after the defeat they suffered in 63 BC. However the hypothesis that the first village was built around the VIII century AD along the Apennine road of the Alps alla Croce, an important road between the Pistoian plains and Modean, seems more logical. Until the XIV century the area was placed under the jurisdiction of Lizzano, to then pass under the direct control of the city of Pistoia.

In the first part of the 14th century the Cutigliano people had to confront the expansionistic intentions of Castruccio Castracani, while in 1330 the village was again threatened by the rebels of the Valdinievole, subdued by the captain Angiolo Panciatichi. The turbulence in the area convinced Pistoia to take measures, instituting the Captaincy of the Mountain in 1368, taking the work of Panciatichi as example. The captain was entrusted with the role of governing Cutigliano while at the same time going around the surrounding castles ensuring a continual protection of the area. After some disputes with Florence it was established that the captain must have been on the Guelph side.

In 1377, four years after the settlement of the first captain in Cutigliano, a small portion of territory was purchased to build the Municipal Palazzo. The building, in Florentine Renaissance style, is still present today, but has suffered some alterations to the attic windows, redesigned in the 18th century, and to those of the ground floor, remade in 1930. On the palazzo’s façade you can still see the coats of arms that were placed there over the course of the years by the various captains that followed.

The strategic role of Cutigliano did not decline with its annexing to the Florentine Republic after the conquering of Pistoia at the beginning of the XV century. Over the years the council has followed its destiny as a great capital town, passing in 1537 under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, first with the Medicis and then with the reign of the Asburgo-Lorena, until the Unification of Italy in 1860.

Lamporecchio | Tuscany Region


Lamporecchio tuscany

Among the Montalbano hills, meet the queen of the “brigidini” brigidini Lamporecchio is a town situated in the province of Pistoia which extends for approximately 22 square kilometres between hills and plains. It is located in a central position, easily reachable from the main towns of Tuscany and placed between two natural jewels: the marsh of Fucecchio and the rolling Montalbano hills. Lamporecchio, known for its traditional “brigidini” wafers, first appears to be a modern town characterized by simple buildings flanking the main road, which leads from Saint Baronto to Mastromarco towards Empoli. Though Lamporecchio itself does not have a traditional historical center, there are numerous towns of historic, artistic and environmental interest located in the hill area of Montalbano: Spicchio, Orbignano, San Baronto, Papiano, Porciano, Lampaggio. Last but not least, visitors will delight in the beautiful landscape of Montalbano surrounding the town with its gentle hills covered of olive trees, cypresses and rows of vines.


San Baronto is a small but lovely tourist town far from traffic, smog and noise. Visitors can spend a pleasant, peaceful and relaxing holiday in an attractive natural environment rich in vegetation, with woods surrounding the built-up area. San Baronto historically developed around the church (which was a convent until the 18th century), which has always represented the heart of the community. Thanks to its location along the important pass of Montalbano, San Baronto can be considered a terrace from which it is possible to enjoy a large part of the surrounding plain. And in summer, also from the small towns of surrounding plains, people come frequently to enjoy the cool breeze, the pure air, and the peace which seem to be the essential characteristics of the place, also known for the bicycle races . San Baronto is known for being the birthplace of many good and highly regarded cooks.


Papiano is a small town located in the hill area around Lamporeccho between San Baronto and Porciano. A group of villas, which have been wisely restored in recent years, are dominated by the imposing “Villa dell'Americana”, a pilgrim hostel/hospital from the Middle Ages has since been turned into a villa.


Orbignano retains its original name, which was mentioned as early as the 8th century according to a written document noting the donation of a olive grove to "Urbignanum" in 779 by the Longobard Aufuns to the convent of San Bartolomeo. There are also documents attesting to the fact that between 957 and 981, the Cathedral Presbytery of Pistoia rented a house of its property situated in "locus qui dicitur Orbignano". The "Villa de Urbiniano" was recognized by Bono, Bishop of Pistoia, with diploma of Emperor Enrico VI dated October 1196, but we know that in the following years Orbignano, with other localities of the area (for example Lamporecchio), was long fought over by the Clergy and the City of Pistoia. Around mid-8th century Orbignano appeared as rural town under Pistoia's dominion. In 1351, Orbignano, like Lamporecchio, became property of Florence.

Lariciano | Tuscany Region


Lariciano tuscany 

The municipality of Lariciano is located in the Province of Pistoia; it currently hosts a population of approximately 6,000 people. located on the slopes of Montalbano, the Commune of Larciano extends for 21 square kilometres and includes the hamlets of S. Rocco, Larciano, Cecina, Castelmartini and the centres of Baccane, Colonna and Biccimurri. Larciano Alto has maintained the medieval urban structure and the enclosing walls of the 13th century, with three access gates to the borough. On the highest point we find the “Rocca” (fortress), probably built by the people of Pistoia after the purchase, in 1226, of the Castle of Larciano.

Larciano Castello is one of the most famous centres of the province of Pistoia, thanks to its position far from the main roads. Its location contributes to its lasting fascination of the ancient atmosphere which pervades the area. We can reach it from Monsummano, following the State Road 436 to Fucecchio, or from S. Baronto, the most comfortable and also the most interesting way, or from Pistoia.

Larciano dominates the whole Valdinievole; it was an important fortified village during the Middle Ages, being one of the bases of the defensive system of Pistoia. About the origin of the name there are various hypotheses: the Roman derivation is supported from the fact that in the 4th century BC a settlement called "Villa Larziana" existed here.

Another possibility is that the name comes from the name of a Roman centurion, Laertia, who, in 122 BC, founded a village on the south-western slopes of Montalbano, called Laertiano. Others simply think it comes from "larice"(larch), because it seems that the area, in past times, was rich in larches woods.

This powerful feudal lordship reconfirmed its domain on several occasions, as historians have inferred from the diplomatic acts of Henry IV and Frederick II. In 1225, Lariciano was purchased from the free town of Pistoia, together with Cecina, Casi and Collecchio, becoming one of the most important defence bastions controlled by Pistoia on the western side of Montalbano.

As far back as 1302, the village was occupied by the Guelphs of Florence, which emerged as victor against the Ghibellines of Pistoia. Thus, in 1310, Pistoia was forced to buy back the castle a second time. In 1391, despite the fact that Florence and Pistoia had since become allies, the military-strategic importance of this stronghold increased. During this period, Larciano was considered a barrier between the part of Tuscany that was dominated by the Republic and the troops sent from Milan by Galeazzo Visconti.

In 1401, the whole countryside surrounding Pistoia was finally integrated into the Florentine Republic and the territory was divided into four sections—Larciano became one of them. Later, it became part of the Serravalle area and the two localities formed a single community in 1772, thanks to territorial reorganization by Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Lorraine.

The ‘comunitas’ of Lamporecchio also arose due to these reforms and Larciano becames a part of it. The town, which achieved its autonomy in 1897, now hosts the Larciano Castle and San Rocco (where the town hall is located), in addition to the hamlets of Biagiotti, Biccimurri, Castelmartini and Cecina.


Castelmartini can be reached from Monsummano by taking the State Road 436, towards Fucecchio. The first settlement, which gave the name to the hamlet of the Commune of Larciano, is situated to south of the present "via Francesca". Its ancient origins date back to the end of the 13th century; the locality in fact, is mentioned for the first time in the " Liber Censuum " in 1297, when Martinus Jacobi Admannati get build a "domus" and a "castrum" (from which the name Castrum Martini = Castelmartini), then another fortified building near a " hospitium " called S. Donnino, not far away from the place where Pistoia had a port which, through the channels of the swamps and the Arno, placed it in connection with Pisa.

This ancient hospital was connected moreover to a road of particular interest which went through Montalbano. The " castrum " of Martino di Jacobo Ammannati passed to the Commune in 1226 (Berti), year of purchase of the fief of Larciano, to which belonged also S. Donnino. Between 1315 and 1325, a period of serious crisis for Pistoia, the hospital of S. Donnino was destroyed. About the castle, which belonged to Martino di Jacobo, from whom derives the name of the locality where the castle was, we do not know exactly its history ; today, part of the ancient building is probable included in the "Villa-fattoria" of Poggio Banchieri, built in the 19th century.

Cecina, placed on a hill in a panoramic position, is an interesting and pleasant village of ancient origins which in the medieval age played a considerable role as protecting castle of the southern boundaries of the territory of Pistoia. It can be reached from Pistoia by taking the road for San Baronto as far as Cantagrillo,from there for Baco and then by crossing over Montalbano. Coming from Monsummano instead, take the State Road 436 towards Montevettolini as far as Cecina. Cecina, derived from Caecina, Kaiknas, is certainly an Etruscan name. From the end of the 14th century ,when Pistoia definitively submitted to Florence, Cecina gained some autonomy, which it maintened until the 18th century.

Massa and Cozzile | Tuscany Region


massa e cozzile tuscany

The community of Massa and Cozzile, in the Province of Pistoia, is made up of two districts. Massa has Roman origins while Cozzile was established later. The two centers are linked by an ancient Roman road that can still be travelled today. Inside the castle of Massa, you can visit the Romanesque parish church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Monastery of the Visitation. In the Cozzile Castle, you can admire the Palazzo de Gubertanis. Massa is one of the oldest villages in the Valdinievole area; this fact is proven thanks to numerous archaeological discoveries including coins, urns and epigraphs found in the surrounding area. It is believed that between the fourth and third century A.C., the current-day castle developed as a Roman center for agriculture.

The structure was fortified during the Middle Ages and it is still possible to admire the old gate-ways known as ‘Porta al Campo’ and ‘Porta Fontana’.
Historical sources refer to Massa as far back as the XI century, together with the Verruca Castle. The latter dates back to the year 1000 and it was mentioned in an imperial document from the X century, which belonged to Ottone III. Cozzile appeared later, yet, it still dates back to the Middle Ages. Massa benefited from autonomous statutes as far back as 1208, yet it was always considered to be under Lucca’s control. Massa became a possession of Florence in 1339, when—together with Cozzile—it became the center of attention during Valdinievole’s wars between Pistoia, Lucca, Florence and Pisa.

Thanks to reforms issued by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, Massa became a ‘comunitas’ that also incorporated Buggiano. The municipality of Massa and Cozzile only became autonomous in1814. Following the Congress of Vienna and the reorganization of Emperor Napoleon’s domains, the Duke allowed for the separation of Buggiano and Massa. Currently, the town is home to 7,000 inhabitants.

Monsummano Rossa Climbing Area, Pistoia Province


Rock Climb Italy, Monsummano Site

Monsummano Rossa is an old quarry area near Montecatini Terme which has become one of the winter sites for climbers in Tuscany.  The area is well protected for the elements and the climbing is on routes well protected.  Most of the climbing tends to be in the middle grade of difficulty but there are plenty of easier climbs to enjoy.  I like the area and would suggest a stop if you are driving from Pisa to Florence. 


REGION Tuscany
NEAREST CITY Monsummano Terme
Rock Climb Italy, Monsummano Climb
APPROACH TIME  5 minutes
ROCK  Limestone
HEIGHT  30 meters
RANGE OF GRADES  5 - 8a (50+ routes)


  • Bada bimba 6c
  • Luce da Orione 7b
  • Io speriamo che me lacavo 7c
  • Testae sciroppate 8a

Monsummano Terme | Tuscany Region


Monsummano Terme Tuscany

Monsummano Terme and its surrounding villages has everything from spas to handmade shoes. Situated between the last ramifications of Montalbano and the northern border of the "Padule di Fucecchio" (the Marsh of Fucecchio), Monsummano Terme is now famous as a thermal resort and for the production of shoes, exported all over the world.
The town has expanded around the "Santuario della Madonna della Fontenuova" (the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Fontenuova) founded in 1602, at the will of the Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici in gratitude for a miraculous event. The northern side of the main square boasts the "Osteria dei Pellegrini"(1607), which houses the "Museo della Città e del Territorio".
The museum is divided into several sections: geology and palaeontology, environment and history, archaeology, the "Padule" (marshes) and reclamation, grand-ducal farms, sacred art and popular religion, the treasure of the "Madonna della Fontenuova", the "Valdinievole felix", the "termalismo"(thermal baths), and industry in the area.


Medieval villages Monsummano Alto and Montevettolini are set in the surrounding hills. Monsummano is the birthplace of well known Italians including the poet Giuseppe Giusti (1809-1850), whose house has now become "Museo Statale di Casa Giusti ", and Ferdinando Martini (1841-1928), a man of culture and a brilliant politician whose stately villa, "Villa Renatico Martini", built around 1887, is seat of a 20th century art collection called "Il Recanatico".


The hill of Monsummano rises 340 meters above sea-level at the northern foot of Montalbano. Today some ruins of the ancient castle still remain, surrounded by a two-kilometer long, elliptic circle of walls, as well as two of three sets of doors: the north-west door of "Nostra Donna" (Our Lady) and the so-called "Porta del Mercato"(Market Door) or "Porticciola" (Little Door). The latter is almost intact and faces the hill of Montevettolini. At the end of the walls a solid, pentagonal tower is still standing. It dates back to the beginning of the 14th century and it is one of the most imposing towers in the province.
The church of San Nicolao is the best preserved building in the village. It was built over-looking the ancient platea communis in the 11th century. On the northern side is the ancient Church of San Sebastiano. In front of it are the foundations of two buildings and fragments of ceramics from various ages, which were found during recent excavation. On the western side there are ruins of a convent almost hidden by the undergrowth surrounding the heart of the castle, and on the eastern side, ruins of the ancient Spedale di San Bartolomeo (Hospital) appear next to the tower.


The small borough of Montevettolini rises at the northwestern foot of Montalbano. It was founded on the top of the hill around the 12th century. The Medicis chose Montevettolini as their resting place while hunting, and at the end of the 16th century, Ferdinando I entrusted Gherardo Mechini and Domenico Marcacci to build the imposing villa, today known as the Borghese at the western end of the surrounding walls. Ruins of the surrounding walls and of one of the six castle defence towers, the so-called "Torre dello Sprone" or "Torre delle Murina", can be seen to the west of the built-up area. The entrance to the village consisted of the following gates: the so-called "Porta del Cantone", which was incorporated into the Medicean villa, and the "Porta del Vicino" or "del Malvicino", later called "Porta dei Barbacci", the only one which is still undamaged.
Located in the borough was the oratory of San Francesco to the West of the church, and that of Corpus Domini built in Bargellini's square, which today is the seat of the local Music Society, founded in 1863.
The 13th century Town Hall still shows the podestas' coats of arms hanging on the facade, and it incorporates an ancient guard tower to the right. A medieval tower was used as a church belfry as well, which was built in the 15th century in the place of the older one, which had been incorporated inside the ecclesiastic building. A chapel dedicated to San Michele, belonging to "San Giovanni Battista" and "San Lorenzo a Vaiano"'s parish church, had risen in the place of the church since the 12th century. It was enlarged over the centuries and was given the status of parish church after the oppression of the parish of Vaiano in 1449, when it was dedicated to San Lorenzo, as well.


During the second half of the 18th century, the area that included the Cintolese borgo was part of a land reclamation project financed by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, which drained all of the marsh area. The reclamation allowed for new work and development projects in the agricultural sector. A new parish church was consecrated to Saint Leopold the Confessor in 1781.

Piteglio | Tuscany Region


piteglio tuscany

Piteglio is the second-largest municipality in the Province of Pistoia. Located at 698 meters above sea level, it has a population of about 1800 inhabitants. In Piteglio you can admire the church of St. Bartholomew in Lanciole and the church of San Miniato in Calamecca. Piteglio’s foundation dates back to a military garrison of the Liguri, built to answer the pressure of the Romans who established themselves in the area around the II century BC. Documented sources tell us of the presence of a fortress only from the XII century. In numerous imperial certificates (of Henry VI in 1191 and Frederick II in 1220 and 1247), we see the reinstatement of the castles of Piteglio and Popiglio to the Guidi counts of Modigliana.

Stimulated by the birth of the free commune of Pistoia, Piteglio and the other nearby villages gave themselves the statute of autonomy in the XIII century and passed under Pistoian protection. In the second half of the century the new commune became part of the Captaincy of the High Mountains, so becoming involved in the centuries-old struggle between the Panciatichi and the Chancellors, which only came to an end around 1539, when Pistoia became part of the grand Duchy of Tuscany and Cosimo I de’ Medici succeeded in pacifying the area and stabilising the boundary with the dominion of Lucca (1538).

The local system, characterised by the presence of a multitude of little autonomous communes, was reorganised in 1774 under request by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena. His reforms prepared to unify the centres of Calamecca, Crespole, Lanciole, Piteglio and Popiglio under a single administration, of which Piteglio has always been the capital - if you exclude the Napoleonic period at the beginning of the 19th century when Popiglio was chosen to be the council capital. The territory of the council was crossed in 1944 by the Gothic Line, along which the Nazi-fascist occupiers fought against the Allied soldiers.

Sambuca Pistoiese | Tuscany Region


sambuca pistoiese tuscany

The town of Sambuca Pistoiese is in the province of Pistoia, but is placed on the northern slopes of the Apennines Sambuca Pistoiese. In the town you can admire the Sanctuary of St. Mary del Giglio, Villa Gargallo, the Sambuca Castle and the church of St. James. The reasons behind the foundation of a Tuscan village in such a geographical position must be traced back to the arrival of the Longobards who, between the VII and the VIII centuries, after having conquered Pistoia, decided to protect the boundaries with the Byzantine army with a series of fortifications, some of which today are part of the Emilian territory. In 727 the Longobard King Liutprando finally succeeded in conquering Bologna but a part of its subjects, by now established in the area, settled permanently.

With the invasion of the Sacred Roman Empire the Longobard seigniories were replaced by new feudatories in the area, among which the bishop of Pistoia whose dominions are demonstrated right in the Limentra valley where today Sambuca stands, as confirmed also by an imperial bull from 998, signed by Ottone III. One of the Pistoian bishops, Martino, started the building of the Sambuca castle in the XI century. It was the very inhabitants of the place, a century later, that contended him for it. However in 1104 the intervention of Matilde de Canossa’s tribunal sanctioned the domination of the Curia.

One year later the free commune of Pistoia was founded and Sambuca became its main northern fortified outpost, especially during the war that lasted throughout the entire XII century between the Tuscan city and Bologna. At the end of the conflict in 1211, Pistoia annexed many other villages of the Limentra to it (that now are part of the Sambuca council) and gave the castle back to the bishop. Sambuca granted itself its first statutes in 1291, but was not fully out of the bishopric’ feudal seigniory until between 1311 and 1368, when Pistoia first purchased the castle and then the ancient Episcopal rights.

In 1402 it became part of the Florentine Republic and even in this case became one of the most important bastions on the Emilian front. In the Grand Ducal age the territory of the current council was divided between the Captaincy of the mountains and the podestà jurisdiction of Montale, to which went Treppio and Torri. The reunification of a single autonomous “comunitas” only came about in 1824.

San Marcello Pistoiese | Tuscany Region


 San Marcello Pistoiese Tuscany

San Marcello Pistoiese was a settlement founded in Roman times. The municipality is located in the Province of Pistoia at an altitude of 625 meters above sea level; it currently has a population of about 7,000 inhabitants. Once in the town, you won’t want to miss a visit the church of Santa Caterina and the church of San Marcello. Its first settlement, as evidenced by the discovery of an ancient burial site, dates back to Roman times. Historical sources, however, first mention the existence of San Marcello in 1191, when a decree issued by Henry VI confirmed its feudal concession to Count Guido Guerra. Thanks to two imperial acts issued by Frederick II during the first half of the thirteenth century, historians have confirmed the existence of a village that was once considered a ‘fortified court’.

At the end of the thirteenth century, San Marcello became a free municipality, which welcomed a group of exiled Ghibellines, lead by Enrico Tedici. In 1323, the town gave hospitality and support to the troops of Castruccio Castracani, a lord from Lucca. Pistoia, however, soon reclaimed the area. After it emerged from civil war between the Cancellieri and the Panciatichi, San Marcello and Cutigliano became the headquarters of the ‘Capitanato della Montagna'. This form of leadership was set up by Pistoia in 1368 to settle conflicts within the area and defend its borders from Luccan ambitions.

The defeated Cancellieri resumed battle once again in 1400, supported by troops sent to Tuscany by the Visconti of Milan. After Pistoia’s surrender to Florence, the Republic incorporated Pistoia’s lands into its own territory, and San Marcello was certainly no exception. The town became a capital-of-sorts for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, after Gaviniana, one of its districts hosted the assassination of the Republican Ferrucci, who was killed by the Spanish in support of the Medici.

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