Firenzuola, into the heart of the mountains between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna
Firenzuola is a hamlet whose name means “little Florence” and whose coat of arms has half a red Lily on a white field… this tells you nothing? Both the name and the symbol were created by the Florentine historian Giovanni Villani, a real authority about the history of Florence. How can we explain this bond between Firenzuola and Florence? It’s simple, Firenzuola is one of the “terre nuove” (new town) founded by Florence between the 13th and the 14th centuries.
We can consider the 1306 as the first year of the history of Firenzuola; in fact this is the year when the Repubblica di Firenze decided to create a new town beyond the Appennines to fight against the Counts Ubaldini. The construction began only in 1332 while the rocca, house of the Florentine governours, dates back the 1371. The beginning was very hard for Firenzuola, the hamlet il borgo was badly attacked two times by the Ubaldini and the Visconti.
During the Second World War, Firenzuola has been devastated by the fierce fighting between the Allies and the Nazis that were positioned along the “Gothic Line”. After the conflict the hamlet was rebuilt and today is a holiday destination appreciated mostly for its environment and to its cool climate in summer, perfect for those who run from the heat of the city.
Guide to visit Firenzuola
After the devastations of the war, Firenzuola was rebuilt restoring the historical characteristics, as the very regular layout with a wide central plaza, typical od the Florentine “terre nuove“. Among the items that have been restored are the arcades along the main road running from the Porta Fiorentina to the Porta Bolognese. Not far from the Pora fiorentina, you can see some remains of the walls, especially the base, built during the 15th century according to the design of Antonio da Sangallo. Inside the main square there are the Rocca, house of the Municipality di Firenzuola, and the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, both rebuilt during the 20th century.
Museo della Pietra Serena
La Rocca di Firenzuola houses the Museo della Pietra Serena, founded in 1999 to celebrate the master stone-cutters of Firenzuola and the pietra serena, a type of stone very used in the entire area of Florence. The museum addresses various issues that revolve around the world of stone quarries exposing the main features and activities.
Address: piazza Don Stefano Casini 4
October – March: monday, thursday, saturday, sunday and holidays 10.00-12.00 and 14.30-16.30
April – September: monday 15.30-17.30; thursday 9.30-12.30: saturday, sunday and holidays 10.30-12.30
Tickets: regular 3 euro; reduced (6-13 years, groups and schools) 1,50 euro
Spazio Culturale “La Guerra e La Memoria”
The Spazio Culturale “La Guerra e La Memoria” is a small museum housed inside the formere seminary in via Villani, in the centre of Firenzuola. Inside are exposed many documents and military materials, mostly related to World War I and the World War II.
Address: via Villani 11
Opening hours: sunday and holidays 10.00-12.30 and 14.30-18.00
Tickets: free entrance
Things to do around Firenzuola
The territory around Firenzuola is characterized by a harsh natural environment with many panoramic points that you can reach trough some hiking trails. One notable place is the Sasso di San Zanobi,a particular rock formation located few distance from the Passo della Raticosa north to Firenzuola.
Around Firenzuola we mention two places of worship with a long history: the Badia di San Piero in Moscheta and the Pieve di San Giovanni Decollato in Cornacchiaia. Founded in 1034, the Badia di San Piero a Moscheta stands in a wooded area less than 10 kiometres from Firenzuola; inside is hosted the Museo del Paesaggio Storico dell’Appennino, a museum dedicated to the historical evolution of the Apennine landscape as a result of the interventions of man. The Pieve di San Giovanni Decollato is just outside Cornacchiaia; a village located 4 kilometres west to Firenzuola. This church is documented since the end of the 10th century and is considered a twin of the Pieve di Sant’Agata located near Scarperia, because these churches were linked trough a road passing from the Passo dell’Osteria Bruciata.
In the end, I want to mention a reminder of World War II, the Germanic military cemetery of Futa located twelve kilometres from Firenzuola beyon Cornacchiaia. Created during the ’60s, this is the largest German cemetery in Italy given that welcomes over 30,000 corpses of German soldiers fallen in war.
How to get to Firenzuola
From north: A1 highway till the exit Pian del Voglio, then continue on SP59, beyond the german cemetary turn on SP116 till destination.
From south: A1 highway till the exit Barberino di Mugello, then SP131 till Colle Barucci, turn on SR65 and then on the right on SP116.
If you are coming from Florence arrivate you can take the A1 or directly the SR65, via Bolognese.
Firenzuola is linked to Florence with the line 303 by Autolinee Mugello Valdisieve. The line 304 instead links Firenzuola to Borgo San Lorenzo and Monghidoro.