Gavinana, August 3rd, 1530. On slopes of the Pistoia mountains, a page was written in the history of Tuscany. The small villages that dot the high plains today were caught in the crossfire between soldiers from the Holy Roman Empire, backed by the Spanish Emperor Charles V, and the military under the Republic of Florence, who had long resisted sieges by those who wanted the Medici to return to power.
Francesco Ferrucci, a Florentine condottiero and symbol of the Republic, was killed during the Battle of Gavinana, right here on these peaceful mountains. Still today, his name can be found throughout these valleys: 500 years hasn’t been enough to forget the efforts of Ferrucci and his army.
The mountains in Pistoia have conserved their authentic charm over the centuries, so different from the atmosphere of the high plains and the Tuscan hills, characterized by a lifestyle deeply tied to the territory’s resources. One of these, chestnuts, grow in the shaded forests and are transformed into flour and eaten in a variety of recipes, making it one of the most prized products of this entire area.
The same mule tracks winding through the mountains were traversed in the 1500s by Florentine troops returning to the city, and they can be walked today via the path that leads from Calamecca to Gavinana.