Swiss Pesciatina: paths and itineraries in TuscanyJanuary 3, 2014
The Swiss Pesciatina (Svizzera Pesciatina) extends in a mountainous region of the Tuscan- Emilian Apennines, north of the town of Pescia, and is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating places in the Valdinievole. According to tradition, it owes its name to the famous Swiss historian and economist Simondo Sismondi, who lived there in the late eighteenth century and found several similarities with the alpine landscapes of his native country. Ten lovely medieval villages perched on the mountains, called "Castella", are part of the Swiss Pesciatina; they are Pietrabuona, Medicina, Fibbialla, Aramo, San Quirico, Castelvecchio, Stiappa, Pontito, Sorana and Vellano.
Starting from Pietrabuona, going up the river Pescia, you can visit all the villages of the Swiss Pesciatina along a hiking trail that, in about six hours walk not too challenging, connects the ten "Castella" one to each other. The trail is nestled in the quiet of nature practically untouched, through woods of oak and chestnut. The ten villages can be reached also by a paved road.
The most characteristic villages of the Swiss Pesciatina are: Pietrabuona, considered the natural gate of the valley; San Quirico, recognizable by the unique urban structure in the shape of a fan and the picturesque alleys of the old town, which cross each other and pass under the buildings through small tunnels; Castelvecchio, known for its beautiful Romanesque church, one of the seven founded by Bishop Frediano in the sixth century; Sorana, famous for the production of a particular type of beans with a delicate flavor that has made it a destination for gourmets discovering culinary treats; and finally Vellano, which stands on a steep slope and keeps outside its walls the beautiful parish church of SS. Sisto and Martin. In Vellano there is also the only quarry of pietra serena still in operation in the province of Pistoia.
The most convenient transportation to reach the Swiss Pesciatina is the car. Alternatively, you can come by train to Pescia and then take the bus to each of the villages in the area, all serviced daily.