Monday, June 4, 2012

Parco Puccini

First, a couple things I would like to say before starting this post:
  1. I want to take a moment and mention that the people of the Emilia-Romagna province are in my thoughts and prayers as they attempt to recover from the earthquakes that have shaken their homes over the past week.  If you would like to help with relief efforts, please consider donating to the Red Cross.
  2. (My apologies for the lapse of blog posts.  I just realized that I hadn't posted anything since the 21st of April!  I have an excuse!  I have been busy writing a guidebook and a dining guide to Florence.  I hope to have it available sometime before the end of the year.  Stay tuned for that and more exciting news in the future months!
Ok, now on with the blog...

Villa Puccini is located northwest of the town of Pistoia, which is located approximately 40 kilometers northwest of Florence.  The villa was built in the 1700's for the physician Tomasso Puccini.  Later, in the early part of the 1800's (sometime between 1821 and 1845), his son, Niccolo' Puccini, built a park surrounding the villa and extending to the back of the property.  The park, in it's heyday, covered 123 hectacres and included statues of important intellectuals (Michelangelo, Dante, etc) as well as a few buildings,  most of which no longer exist.

When you arrive at the park, there is a small parking lot across from the church, Sacro Cuore Immacolato di Maria, where you can park for free.  

Sacro Cuore Immacolato di Maria

You will walk through an area that is dotted with several olive trees before you reach the entrance gate to the park.  

Olive trees...always fascinate me!

Once you enter through the gate, you will walk up the paved entryway toward the villa, which is lined with tall pine trees.  If you look toward the right, you will be treated with a beautiful view of the mountainous landscape of this area of Tuscany.  

Following the trail through the park, you will pass through many tall plain trees as you head toward the man-made lake.

The lake is fairly big and has a little island in the middle of it.  On the island is the remnants of the Temple of Pythagoras, which Niccolo' Puccini had built as a nod to the ancient Greeks. 

As we walked around the lake on a beautiful December day, I wondered about that island.  I imagined that a century or two ago, the Puccini family would perhaps take a small boat out to the lake for a picnic.  I'm not sure if that happened, but it was fun to imagine what it would have been like for them, considering this park was their backyard!

Temple of Pythagoras

Of course, along with water, inevitably you will find ducks!  There were a lot of ducks and geese milling about the park.  Some were quite interesting looking and fairly friendly.  Others, most notably the geese, weren't so fond of us walking around their territory.

All around the lake is a walking trail.  There were several people out running while we were strolling around the park.  It seems to be a nice place for the locals to get out and exercise.  Along the trail, every so often, you will come across a bench.  One we found had our initials written on it, so we took advantage of the photo op!

S loves A!

Villa Puccini is a lovely place to spend some time strolling and enjoying the outdoors.  You will want to allow at least 30-40 minutes to visit the park, which is completely free to roam.  Bring your camera and snap some pictures.  The park is a nice getaway from the downtown area of Pistoia and will take you about a 10 minute drive if you are coming from the center of town.

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