La Ferriera

The ironworks of Pracchia – a little village on the way to Bologna – was originally built in 1542 on the orders of Cosimo I De’ Medici, as a furnace for the cast iron production along the river Reno.
Until the end of the sixteenth-century – along with the others ironworks of the Pistoiese Mountain – it was the first center of the iron industry in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Later it was bought by the Sabatini family and it operated until the middle of twentieth century.
In 1992 it was recovered and opened to the public thanks to a project executed by the Province of Pistoia , called the “ecomuseum”.
This project is based on themed tours and this ironworks with an educational point and garden forms the iron itinerary.
The exposition structure of the ironworks exhibites some instruments of work and ancient machineries used for the smelting and iron working from sixteenth-century to twentieth-century, where forging and iron wroughting are carried out for educational use.
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The ancient and medieval hamlet of Lucchio stands on rock and stone, for this reason it is considered one of the most scenographic villages of the unknown Tuscany.
The narrow and winding street to reach this center, remind us of how inexpugnable this village was.
A popular saying of this area says that the housewives of Lucchio should place a little bag on the tail of their chickens to prevent the eggs from falling down in the valley.
The ruins of the castle that overlooks Lucchio, dates back to 11th century, Lucchio has a position of supremacy on the surrounding territory and the street in the valley bottom, that runs along the river Lima.
Actually, numerous families from North Europe have bought houses here, haveing been enraptured by the charm of this town and its landscape.

In Pian de Termini, three Kilometers from Gavinana and six from San Marcello, there is an astronomical observatory Inside the building, a hall, which can accommodate about sixty people, is equipped with cutting-edge audiovisual instruments and equipment including a digital project, which, connected to a mini video camera, allows visitors to view live images from the telescope.
The observatory has two telescopes: one of 40 cm with a mirror of 600 mm, which is capable of gathering double the light of star, thus rendering the weakest, most distant stars visible.
This telescope permits observations of great scientific interest.
Thanks to the Astrophiles group’s discovery of 138 asteroids. At number 38, the Observatory has been added to the list of the most productive observation sites in the world.

Devil’s Bridge

The Maddalena Bridge joins the two banks of the river Serchio near Borgo a Mozzano in the province of Lucca.
Its construction dates back to Matilde of Canossa (1046-1115) who had great power in Garfagnana.
Its medieval and classical look dates back to 1300 when Castruccio Castracani – condottiere of Lucca – reconstructed it.
The “hump-backed” bridge has various and asymmetrical arches: the arch in the middle is so high and wide that its solidity seems to defy the force of gravity.
According to a local and popular legend the bridge is also called “Devil’s Bridge”.
The legend recounts that the bricklayer, who started to build this bridge, realised that he would not able to finish his work in time.
He was so frightened by the consequences that he turned directly to the Devil for a help.
The Devil agreed to finished the work in one night in exchange for the soul of the first person who crossed the bridge.
he agreement was signed but the bricklayer, full of remorse, decided to turn to a confessor who suggested he have a pig cross the bridge first. The Devil was mocked and disappeared in the water of the river.

Castruccio Bridge

The Castruccio, or Campanelle, Bridge stands downstream from Popiglio over the river Lima.
From the typical medieval village a series of alleys, paved with pietra serena, lead to an arch, past which the Veduta street (a mule track) begins and leads down to the river passing through wooded areas and old mills.
Constructed out of ancient pebbles and stones the “hump-backed” bridge has a single arch, which is ten meters high and two meters wide with eighty centimeters parapets.
It is a solid structure that has survived the force of the river for centuries requiring minimal repair work.
The bridge gets its name from Castruccio Castracani – condottiere of Lucca – who constructed the bridge in 1317 (though according to some he simply modified an ancient Roman bridge) because he had his sights set on conquering first the castle of Popiglio and then the entire mountain.
On the other side of the bridge there are two small stone buildings from the Middle Ages, which would have served as customhouses where people and goods were checked before entering the territory.

The Suspension Bridge

The Suspension Bridge is situated in Mammiano Basso between Popiglio and San Marcello over the river Lima.
The bridge is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world (its length is 220 meters).
Certainly it is not a work of art but it’s a symbol of ingenuity that dates back to 1922.
The bridge is constructed out of well-anchored solid steel cables, with lateral tie rods, that render it less subject to vacillation, and a reinforced walkway approximately a meter wide.
Every year many tourists come to Mammiano to see and to “experience” the suspension bridge (under which there is a fishing lake), however, it was constructed as a convenient short cut for the workers of the surrounding areas, who had to reach the metallurgical factories in Limestre and Campo Tizzoro.
From spring 1922 until now, this bridge has been crossed by approximately three million people. It is impossible not to feel a little quiver….


Many thanks to Gabriella Aschieri, writer of the book "A spasso per la montagna pistoiese - Itinerario di una comunità".



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