“………She lighted the fire with tiny wooden branches, then she put “testi”, a kind of thick dish made with local special stone, where necci paste is directly melt.  Necci are a kind of “pancake”, made with chestnut flour and water, you mix it until obtain a smoth paste that you can pour on testi, actually not direclty, first you put some chestnut leaves on the testi, then you pour the necci paste. Chestnut leaves must be picked after the first August storm, then dried hanging at the windows…As soon as the heaten testi touch these leaves, a intriguing smell of wood comes out and carries you back in time…Then you finally pile one layer of testi with chesnut leaves and necci paste, then another same layer of testi, chestnut leaves, paste……smoke comes out while the strong heat cooks necci, which you can taste after few minutes…”








This is the memory of a fantastic day I spent on Pistoia Mountains some years ago.  And this is what you can experience here on the beautiful Autumn months.

Foliage colours are stunning, hills and mountains are performing an extraordinary natural show of the beauty of their trees, their wild nature and tasty flavours.

It is chestnut time:  our tradition is to spend time walking in the woods picking up the chestnuts fallen from the trees, and then go home and maybe light a fireplace, enjoy a good glass of red wine, and finally eat roasted or boiled chestnuts…..

And it is not only a private celebration, it’s something people like to share: not ony inviting friends at home, but also joining the traditional feasts organized all over the area.   

Here you are a basic list, please get in touch if you wish to receive further details:  aptpistoia@gmail. com

Autumn is fantastic!


24 October 2010

Chestnut feast in  Cireglio

Boiled chestnut feast in Momigno

Chestnut feast at La Bicocca mountain retreat at Doganaccia

October 30 and 31 2010

Chestnut festival in Cutigliano: this is a main event representing not only chestnuts and what we can prepare with them, but the whole world of their cultivation

Chestnut feast in Piteglio

the full programme is available here: http://www.pistoia.turismo.toscana.it/en/eventi-del-mese.html

Traditional feast are normally events where the small villages open their centres to stalls selling food and handicrafting, with meals served or just snacks, beside the typical preparation of chestnuts as “ballocce”, “necci”, “castagnaccio”

Want to learn what does it mean? You just need to COME AND ENJOY!!!


Biking or trekking on Pistoia mountains is always nice. Now is the perfect time of the year!!!!!!!!!


Route 1: From Pian dei Termini towards Monte Peciano
Route 2: ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Towards Monte Gennaio
Route 3: Circular Cycle path of Pratorsi

How to reach Gavinana by car:
from Pistoia: Take road SR no. 66 until Campotizzoro, take a right on the provincial road near “Ponte alla Falce”. This road leads to Gavinana after about 5 kilometers.
” from Lucca Take road SS no. 12 “dell’Abetone e del Brennero”, take a right on road SR no. 66 near La Lima towards San Marcello Pistoiese.

Route 1
From Pian dei Termini towards Monte Peciano
This is an easy route on rough track. From Pian dei Termini follow a slightly sloping stretch, which leads into a thick conifer wood. Halfway there is a spring water fountain, rich in minerals..
Route 2
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE Towards Monte Gennaio
The route follows well-marked CAI paths that cross the Teso Forest. From Pian dei Termini the route is mostly uphill except a few stretches, until you reach the midway point. Along the path there are great viewpoints looking out onto the Northern Apennines.
Route 3
Circular Cycle path of Pratorsi
It is a brief route of medium difficulty. The first stretch is on an asphalt road that leads to the refuge of Pratorsi, and then continues on both tracks and asphalt road. The gradient and steep downhill stretch make this route particularly unusual.


Enjoy Nature and Tuscan mountains beauties at the slow and good pace of Nordic Walking!

From August 1st to Septmber 30th, Abetone, on Pistoia Mountains, guests a series of special events and regular excursions of Nordic Walking.

Every Tuesday: trip  to LAGO NERO – mini training on Nordic Walking, level: medium/hard – timing: 3h-3h30 – Euro 15 per person

Every Thursday: trip to LIBRO APERTO – mini training on Nordic Walking, level: medium/easy – timing: 3h – Euro 15 per person

On the other days classes+trips are available on request, with 3 different levels: basic, techincal 1, technical 2 – cost per lesson Euro 10 – full minitraining of 3 lessons: Euro 25


AUGUST 10th 2010


It’s St. Lorenzo night and everywhere in Italy people watch the sky looking for falling stars…at Abetone there is a trip starting from sunset and getting back during the night – Nordic Walking minitraining, starting from 5.30 pm at Seggiovia Selletta and walk until sunset to reach Monte Gomito. Dinner at Rifugio La Selletta – walk back under the stars – cost per person Euro 30.

SEPTEMBER 4th 2010


Trip with minitraining – meeting point Seggiovia Selletta at 8.30 am, walk on Abetone mountains and in the woods, lunch at Rifugio La Selletta, Euro 30 per person

For further information: aptpistoia@gmail. com  or nordic.walking@skicollegeselletta.com – call: 348-7808465

Enjoy nature, feel free…..join us on Tuscan mountains!



Cycling is one of the best ways to discover our territory, besides being a fantastic way to work out, improve your training, get a nice sun tan!!!

I am first suggesting you a route bases on historical venues, mixed up with interesting natural sites. Soon I will publish new itineraries with gps details and pictures!

MOUNT ABETONE AND THE ROAD OF XIMENESARoute 1: From the “Pyramids” to Mount Maiori
Route 2: Towards the Libro Aperto
Route 3: Bicycle circuit of AbetoneHow to get to Abetone by car:
From Pistoia: Regional Road SR no. 66 and Road SS no.12 “of Abetone and Brennero”.
From Lucca and from Modena : Road SS no. 12 “of Abetone and Brennero”.
 Route 1
From the “Pyramids” to Mount Maiori
A circular 8km route that is easy to follow, half along a rough track and the other half along a forest path. Halfway you can find a fountain and a designated rest area. The route, on the rough track, has a gradient of 2.5% and is suitable even for families with children and people using wheelchairs (with an obligatory escort). There are beautiful panoramas on the “Libro Aperto” and the side of the mountain looking towards Modena.
 Route 2
Towards the Libro Aperto
A more demanding route: a small climb to the peak of Mount Maiori, then downhill to Serrabassa and then another climb to the top of Mount Libro Aperto (1937 m). It is advisable to replenish water supplies at the fountain on the route. Excellent view of the Apennine ridge and Mount Cimone (easily recognizable by the buildings at the top.
 Route 3
Bicycle circuit of Abetone
This circuit is easy on mountain bikes, not very long and offers a variety of landscapes, such as on the circuit of Mount Maiori. There are stretches that are more demanding: towards Mount Libro Aperto, towards La Secchia and Bicchiere, down to Rivoreta and up from Pianosinatico to Abetone. From Boscolungo take path CAI no. 102 which joins up with Sestaione Valley. It is highly advisable to wear a helmet and bring a water bottle.



The first itinerary has already been made, and I was there.

It was surprising. Discovering beautiful pieces of contemporary art in Pistoia countryside or on its beautiful hills, in fantastic prestigious locations, it was really an experience even for me, travelling in this area for years now.

Well Pistoia Arteconte is a fantastic project, unfortunately all promotional material is available in Italian only, so apart from telling you about last Sunday’s visit, I will give you details on the next events. Please get in touch if you want to attend, there are very good English speaking professional guides, so there will be no problem in joining the group!

LAST but NOT LEAST: you travel on a bus, you have guided tours, drinks, aperitifs snacks, you get entrances to venues, all FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In the case there are lunches envolved, you can decide to get a special menu for 15 euro or to come with your own food!

So ART is for everybody, and it is in very simple places.

Places where people worked, where farmers have grown their olive trees, places of extraordinary elegance and great history, as Medici’s villas.

Art can be anywhere. And Pistoia area is a perfect location for it.

So last Sunday the tour started from Quarrata, less than 10 km from Pistoia centre, a bit on the hills, formerly famous for its big furniture factories.

The centre of Quarrata hasn’t anything “historical”, it hasn’t got an identity. Or better say, stil not has an identity. But this identity is becoming now real, thanks to the City Hall effort to provide its people with pieces of art telling about their life. So now they have an “industrial archaeology” area transfomed into exhibition centre, technological centre, and a library with contemporary style architectures. And there are the works of their beloved citizen artist Agenore Fabbri.  I am not here telling all his personal story, or to give you details on its art life, you just should see it. He specialized in shaping his stories and emotions on clay tiles or statues, but he did fantastic sculpturing as well.


 After the centre of Quarrata, we went on its hills to the beautiful Medici mansion, Villa La Magia. A beautiful garden, a fantastic location, now owned by the City Hall, but supporting artists for years by guesting them there to work, and they left some of their works in the beautiful garden. The main villa is now under renovation, ground floor is already done and part of the first floor as well.

We were guided to see what the artists created in the park, and what is inside the villa. Fabbri,  Anne and Patrick Poirier, Bagnoli, Nagasawa, just to mention some of them, left their art works in the beautiful nature  of the park, melting with trees, grass, flowers, branches, stones….really enchanting views…!

First contemporary art, then music. A fantastic jazz player and musician playes live in the villa lounge, just for us, amazing music…and then a very nice lunch in the former horse stables.

In the afternoon, after a morning under the rain, the sun came out to shine on the beautiful fountain/art work of Jorio Vivarelli we visited in Fognano, a few km from Montale, our last stop.

I will use another post to tell you more about the great artist Vivarelli, just watch this now, and see how the beauty of Tuscan nature is in a perfect armony with the art of a Tuscan author…despite the sufference and the strenght behind his work, this is really beauty!

We then moved to Villa Smilea in Montale, another surprising Medici mansion in the countryside.

 The Renaissance style and splendour are perfectly represented in this unique location, a castle with two towers dominating the countryside.

The Villa guests a permanent exhibition of some art works from Jorio Vivarelli and there is also  a space for temporary exhibitions now open for a Vivarelli alumnus Andrea Dami, presenting his last original works.

The day ended again with music, a Voyage a Paris, really intersting voyage through poets and musicians of the early ‘900 en la Ville Lumiere…

A day in art, an experience to do, here you are the list of the next itineraries:

Sunday, April 18
10.00 am Meeting at the train station in Pistoia
Monsummano Terme
10.30 am Mac n – Museum of modern art of the twentieth century – Villa Renatico Martini
Welcome Coffee
Flashes: colors, music and words
Performances and music in the villa  – visit the exhibition of Leonardo Savioli
In collaboration with Laboratory Cooperative Gioda Afrodita
Pièces Brèves
Salvadori Marco, oboe
Stefano Vicentini, bassoon
Music by George Frideric Handel, Antonio Vivaldi, Joseph Fiala, Heitor Villa – Lobos
12.30 Lunch (about € 15,00 per person at the Poggio degli Olivi, reservations required by Thursday, April 15 sees the number 800974102. The service is guaranteed for a minimum of 20 people. If you want youcome with your own packed lunches, it  is also planned an open space in the park)
15.00 Collodi, Pinocchio Park. Visit the works of Venturino Venturi, Emilio Greek, Giovanni Michelucci Porcinai Peter, Peter and Marco Zanuso Consagra
16.30 Visit to Gipsoteca Libero Andreotti
A breath of twentieth century
Wind quintet of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Music by Nino Rota, Giorgio Federico Ghedini, Jacques Ibert, Gianfrancesco Malipiero, Ferenc Farkas

Sunday, May 9
Pistoia City ‘
10.00 am Meeting at Pistoia Piazza Garibaldi
Guided tour of the works of the Old Town: Around the Sun by Roberto Barni Square (the vegetable), the Moon in the Well of John Ruff (Piazza Giovanni XXIII), The Miracle of Marino Marini (Palazzo Comunale, Piazza Duomo)
11.00 Museo Marino Marini, Knight on Horseback
Breakfast with musical accompaniment by the band of Burgundians Pistoia and tour of the museum
13.00 Lunch at the Cafeteria Marino Marini (€ 15.00 per person, reservations required by Thursday, May 6. The service is guaranteed for a minimum of 30 people)
15.00 Hemodialysis Hospital Pavilion of strain (by Armenians)
Science and art in the service of man
Guided tour of works by Daniel Buren, Dani Caravan, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Claudio Parmiggiani and John Ruffo.
16.00 Fabroni Palace (Via Santa 5) second floor
A museum to reflect on contemporary
Guided tour of the permanent collection
17.00 Fabroni Palace, the first floor hall
Through the form
Lawrence Fire, violin I
Andrea Tavani, violin II
Pierpaolo Ricci, purple
Elida Pali, cello
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy

Saturday, May 15
14.00 Meeting at the train station in Pistoia
Visit the private collection of Villa Celle Santomato – Pistoia
(The tour lasts 4 hours. Expected return at 19.00)  FULLY BOOKED – WAITING LIST

Saturday, May 22
15.00 Meeting at the train station in Pistoia
15.20 Stonorov Villa Foundation, Pistoia Jorio Vivarelli, bracken (Pistoia)
The theater of memory
Piece dedicated to the sculptor Jorio Vivarelli   made by Massimo Biagi, with musical interludes by the Municipal School of Music and Dance Theater Teodulo Mabellini Pistoia
Screening of video Jorio Vivarelli sculptor matter of life by Veronica Ferretti
bookings: 0573 97461
Maximum 50 people for 11 days of April 18, 9 and 22 May
Maximum 25 people per day on May 15
Participation is free and includes any transfer by bus, entrance to museums, guides and concerts.
The lunches on 11 and 18 April and 9 May, at a cost of € 15.00 per person agreement, require to be booked to the number 0573 97461 in the manner described for each day.
Participants will be given a small gift from the laboratory created Arizoe of Pistoia (Via San Marco 23)

The project is realized with the contribution of the Tuscany Region and the Province of Pistoia in collaboration with the Municipalities of Monsummano Terme Montale, Pescia, Pistoia and Quarrata; Fondazione Marino Marini, Pistoia, Pistoia Foundation Jorio Vivarelli, Carlo Collodi Foundation Pescia, Fattoria di Celle in Pistoia (loc. Santomato), l * USL 3 Pistoia


As Spring is finally here, we are ready to welcome summer nights full of events dedicated to Music.

Pistoia has a great tradition on music events, one above all the world famous Pistoia Blues Festival, this year at its 31st edition, with guests as Lou Reed,  Buddy Guy, Robert Cray just to talk about the confirmed ones.

Main stages are in the old city centre, so the feeling is really unique. Rock and blues lovers can’t miss this fantastic festival!

From the art city centre, to its beautiful hills and mountains, we have the chance to listen to music from the world, together with a variety of connected activities as guided visits to historic villages, through the woods, as well as tastes of typical products, traditional Tuscan dances and a lot more.

This is what is offered by the 25th edition of Sentieri Acustici, a music festival belonging to nature and traditions, the Tuscan ones connecting to the world!     

The third event of Tuscany and Music is Estate Regina, dedicated to orchestral classical music, chamber and opera, in the beautiful location of Montecatini Terme, at Tettuccio spa centre.  Elegance in music, architecture and atmosphere.

Click here to download full details on the events: Tuscany and music

Updates on facebook and twitter!


Here we are, about 2 weeks and Spring will be officially started.

Now it’s still plenty of snow here on Pistoia Mountains, and Abetone and Cutigliano ski resorts are fully active:   you find special offers for couples and kids, take the chance for a last minute skiing holiday! More info: aptpistoia@gmail.com or info@pistoia.turismo.toscana.it

Well, Spring time on our mountains means a  special time to enjoy outdoor activities such as trekking, biking, hiking.  Or just “farniente” in a farmhouse!

I will soon post Easter events and the calendar for next months: there is always a good reason to come here, starting from low budget travel solutions, to great art and cultural locations, to fantastic natural landscapes! 

Be active, enjoy nature, visit Pistoia and its mountains!