Uzzano, an ancient castle village in the province of Pistoia
Uzzano is a suggestive medieval village in the province of Pistoia. The center stands on a low relief, at the beginning of the hills of the Valdinievole, from where it dominates the valley floor of the Pescia stream.
The foundation of the village probably dates back to the Longobard era, but the first documents date back to around the year 1000. At that time, Uzzano was under the control of a noble Cunimondinghi family from Lucca, of Longobard origin, who had a castle here. In the thirteenth century, Uzzano obtained the status of free municipality even if it remained firmly linked to the city of Lucca. During the fourteenth century, Uzzano and the whole Valdinievole were reached by the expansion of Florence which took possession of the whole area. From then on, the village followed the fate of Florence and then became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the unification of Italy.
If in the fourteenth century Uzzano could boast one of the most important castles in the area, unfortunately today this is not the case because its fortress was demolished in the nineteenth century; of the ancient defensive system of the fourteenth century, only a few sections of the walls are now preserved.
What to see in Uzzano
Uzzano is a village of great character, with its old cobbled streets and two interesting buildings: the Palazzo del Capitano, an important example of 13th-14th century civil architecture, and the church of Santi Jacopo e Martino which dates back to a period between XII and XIII century. Another historic church, the one dedicated to Saints Bartolomeo and Silvestro, is located in the nearby hamlet of La Costa.
Palazzo del Capitano
The Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo stands in the main square of Uzzano. Built starting from the 13th century and enlarged by the Florentines during the following century, the palace represented the point of reference for the entire Uzzanese community. Initially it was the seat of the municipal magistrates of Uzzano, then it was used by the Podestà and the captain sent from Florence to govern the village. Over time, the building has also housed an elementary school and now inside we find the historical archive of the Municipality of Uzzano and a meeting room used by the city council.
Thanks to a twentieth-century restoration, the building has regained its medieval forms with the beautiful loggia on the ground floor which had been closed during a Baroque renovation. In the council chamber there is a fresco with the Madonna enthroned between Saints Jacopo and Martino which dates back to the 15th century.
Chiesa dei Santi Jacopo e Martino
A short uphill road leads from the square to the church of San Jacopo e Martino. In Romanesque style, the church has a beautiful portal with various coats of arms: the imperial eagle, the Lily of Florence and the Fire, symbol of Uzzano. Immediately above a decoration in white Carrara marble and green serpentine from Prato, which we also find in the rose window and in the attic. In the highest part there is a fake neo-Romanesque loggia which was added in the 19th century.
The single-nave interior preserves some interesting works of art. These include the statue of Sant’Antonio Abate, by Giovanni della Robbia, a cycle of frescoes created by Sodoma’s students, the thirteenth-century stoup and the baptismal font (17th century). Also of great interest is the bell tower which once must have been part of the defense structures of Uzzano. Inside there is a fresco, Crucifixion between the Virgin Mary, San Giovannino and the Saints Martino and Jacopo, probably painted by Neri di Bicci.
What to see around Uzzano
Uzzano is located in Valdinievole, an area rich in history where there are some villages of great interest such as Pescia and Collodi that everyone knows thanks to the Adventures of Pinocchio. As for the other centers in the province of Pistoia, I suggest you read the guides relating to the spa towns of Montecatini and Monsummano as well as the one on the medieval village of Montecatini Alto.
How to get to Uzzano
Uzzano is located 3 km from Pescia and 20 from Pistoia. To reach it you will have to take the Firenze-Mare motorway (A 11) to the Chiesina Uzzanese exit and then follow the signs for Uzzano.