Montecatini Alto, a medieval village in Valdinievole

Toward Montecatini Alto, from the thermal baths to the castle

You have just completed the tour of the magnificent establishments of Montecatini Terme? Well, it’s time to take the historic funicular connecting the spa resort to the real historical centre: Montecatini Alto. You may already noticed it looking at the hills, the medieval village is located a short distance from the town in the valley. Accessible on foot via a hilly trail known as “La Corta”, Montecatini Alto provides an excellent panoramic view on the Valdinievole.

Panoramic view from Montecatini Alto
Panoramic view from Montecatini Alto (Photo by Sigeng, CC BY-SA 4.0 )

The funicular

Created between 1897 and 1898, the funicular of Montecatini links the thermal area with the cities upstream through two small red trains, called “Gigio” e “Gigia”, reminiscences of 19th-century railway carriages. In fact, although over the years there have been many technical developments and updates, the two trains have retained their original appearance.
Address: viale Diaz 22, Montecatini Terme
Opening hours: 9.30-24.00
Tickets: Round trip 7 euro; one-way trip 4 euro
The funicular is mainly active in spring and summer, to be safe we suggest to check on the official web site

Funicular for Montecatini Alto
Funicular for Montecatini Alto  (Photo by Alex Janssen / CC BY)

Things to do in Montecatini Alto: tourist guide

Documented as a castle before the year 1000 and as free town in 13th century, during the modern age Montecatini Alto (or Montecatini Val di Nievole) has progressively lost importance due to the growth of Montecatini Terme. The village is located on the top of two hills and was equipped with city walls (destroyed by Florence in 1554) and eight city gates. Nowadays there is only one of these city gates: Porta di Borgo near the Monastero delle Benedettine di Santa Maria a Ripa.

The village is perfect for a relaxing walk to discover its treasures. On the Hill further north you can enjoy the pleasant piazza Giusti, the chiesa di San Pietro with its imposing bell tower and the remains of the Fortress.

Things to do in Montecatini Alto: Piazza Giusti in Montecatini Alto
Piazza Giusti (Photo by Davide Papalini / CC BY)

In the southern area look for the baroque chiesa del Carmine (1764) and the Torre dell’Orologio, the only survivor building of southern fortress. Yes, originally there was not a single fortress in Montecatini Alto, but two!

Things to do in Montecatini Alto: The Clock Tower in Montecatini Alto
The Clock Tower (Photo by Lucarelli / CC BY)

For more informations on the village, please consult the web site of the Montecatini Alto’s Proloco.

Places to visit around Montecatini Alto

In addition to the aforementioned Montecatini Terme, in the surroundings of Montecatini Alto there are several interesting places to visit; among these I suggest Pistoia, Pescia, Buggiano, Serravalle Pistoiese and Monsummano Terme, the other spa town in the area.

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