The Montalbano region and the beautiful province of Pistoia: the Valdinievole, Pescia and the “Svizzera Pesciatina” (“Swiss Pescia”) and the Montagna Pistoiese region
Sunny Tuscany & Italy offers you different types of holidays and trips to discover the most beautiful places in the Montalbano region and the lands near Pistoia.
The rolling hills of the Montalbano region, characterized by olive groves and vineyards, extend throughout the provinces of Pistoia, Prato and Florence. This beautiful landscape is dotted with majestic villas, ancient Etruscan ruins, churches, nature reserves and renowned spa resorts. It’s a land of fine wines (the Chianti Montalbano Wine and the Carmignano Wine) and olive oils, valued and protected by the well-known Wine and Olive Oil Trails of Montalbano. The hills of Leonardo, the perfect escape for pleasant wine and food experiences. The Montalbano region is a land of magnificent castles, ancient churches and medieval villages, such as Vinci (the birthplace of the great Leonardo, near Florence). Artimino and Comeana in the province of Prato and Serravalle Pistoiese and Larciano in the territory of Pistoia are just a few examples of the magnificent pearls tucked away in the countryside. The whole area is scattered with beautiful villas, ancient country residences of the Medici family: the Medici Villa "Ambra" in Poggio a Caiano, Villa "La Ferdinanda" in Artimino, the Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi and Villa “La Magia” in Quarrata, near Pistoia. The area of Montalbano is particularly suitable for walks and excursions, thanks to an extensive network of pedestrian and cycle paths reaching the pleasant hill towns surrounded by nature, archaeological sites and ancient woods such as the oak forest of Pietramarina or the Barco Reale Mediceo in Carmignano (an ancient hunting reserve). The foodies will find bread for their belly, as well as fine wines and excellent extra virgin olive oil from Montalbano. You can also find an excellent production of cold cuts and a large confectionery tradition including typical delicacies such as chocolate, the famous "brigidini" from Lamporecchio and the mouth-watering dried figs from Carmignano.
A small treasure of northern Tuscany, Pistoia is a lovely medieval town of quiet charm, still livable and away from the mass tourism, full of wonderful treasures which must be discovered. The town and its surroundings are famous all over the world for their plant nurseries. The most luscious plants and the most beautiful trees present in the major European cities come from the plant nurseries near Pistoia.
The province of Pistoia is a corner of Tuscany where you can find unique landscapes, beautiful villages rich in art and tradition, renowned spas and numerous lodging where local food products are a centerpiece and enjoyed by all! The Valdinievole, a green valley close to Pistoia, is a true “paradise” for those who are looking for a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday for several reasons. The first is its renowned healing mineral springs, known and used since ancient times. Next, the good geographic location makes it ideal. Finally, the wide and competitive hotel accommodation with the presence of spa resorts and large green parks make Montecatini Terme and Monsummano Terme the ideal places for thermal and healthcare treatments, relaxation, enjoyment and day trips throughout Tuscany.
About 4 km west of Pescia, you'll find the city of flowers and floriculture at the border of the Valdinievole region, with its Flower Markets and the plentiful greenhouses. Tucked within the Tuscan countryside, lies the ancient village of Collodi, where Carlo Lorenzini, the author of The Adventures of Pinocchio, spent his childhood and from which he later took his famous pseudonym of Carlo Collodi. And to this great fantastical long-nosed character who came from Collodi’s pen is dedicated the Pinocchio Park, a large theme park, a true paradise for children and adults, which has a stage called "the Pinocchio system " (a path unique in the world, which contains, in addition to the park itself, the ancient village of Collodi, the wonderful Garzoni Garden and the Collodi Butterfly House). This wonderful spectacle contains more than 400 species of butterflies coming from all over the world. To the North of Pescia you can find the Valleriana region, a wonderful mountain with a typical Apennine landscape. There you can see gentle hills, wide forests of chestnut trees, black locusts and ten medieval mountain hamlets, called “castellan”. This wonderful area shares a similarity to the typical valleys of the Swiss mountains and has earned the evocative title of “Svizzera Pesciatina” (“Swiss Pescia”). It is the ideal setting for pleasant walks deep in history and nature, especially along the Valleriana Trekking. This walking trail is about 110 km long, not very difficult and suitable for all, which offers the possibility to visit the Svizzera Pesciatina and its ten hamlets in 5 stages, with about 4-6 hours walking per day.
The mountain lovers will also appreciate the Montagna Pistoiese region, in high Tuscany: the Apennines near Pistoia, with their four municipalities (San Marcello Pistoiese, Abetone, Cutigliano and Piteglio) have been able to combine the precious treasure of their natural resources with modern hotel facilities and qualified services, offering many possibilities to spend free time among sports, culture, entertainment and relaxation. Regarding winter sports, the ski area of the Montagna Pistoiese is the oldest and most important of Central Italy: its heart is the Abetone ski resort, the most renowned and equipped ski resort of Tuscany, and it’s divided into four beautiful valleys, with more than 42 ski slopes and 26 modern ski lifts. Those who love trekking and hiking can choose among an extensive network of walking trails crossing the whole area: the Montagna Pistoiese Trekking offers about 165 km of trails ranging from the tops of the highest mountains to the old centers of the villages on the hills, while the Ecomuseo della Montagna Pistoiese scattered open-air museum, proposes 6 cultural and natural routes spanning the whole area of the Pistoia Apennines.