Sticky & Sweet Tour of the province of Pistoia

Sunday full of sweetmeat goodies scheduled this weekend in the province of Pistoia. The town of Borgo a Buggiano is hosting its traditional “Gluttons’ Carnival”. The streets of this ancient city will be packed with stalls full of delicious local gastronomy. Buskers will animate the day, entertaining both children and adults. A carnival train will scurry around town transporting visitors.

Borgo a Buggiano

It is said that during the second century BC a soldier requested from his Roman commander a reward for his merit in a battle against the Ligurians. The commander knew the soldier wanted a piece of land where to build a house and live in peace, so he offered him the possibility of defining the borders using the hide of an ox, bue. The wise soldier took the hide and cut it into many thin strips, which he used to limit quite a large plot of land. At the end the captain was forced to accept the shrewdness of his man and legend wants that on this land was founded the town of Borgo a Buggiano.

Instead, up on the mountains of the Apennines the village of Le Piastre is setting up its stalls for the “Sweet Polenta Festival”. This type of ‘polenta’,  aka as Polenda and characteristic of the mountain areas of Northern Tuscany and of Emilia-Romagna, is made with chestnut flour and not maize as its savoury version. Other tasty products made with this flour will be sold, amongst which the famous necci, considered the ‘poor’ ancestors of pancakes.

Ghiacciaia della Madonnina

The small town of Le Piastre based its initial economy on ice. In fact just outside town one can still admire the Ghiacciaia della Madonnina, the “Little Madonna’s Ice-House”, built in the early 1900s to store and conserve the ice produced by the mountain streams. Once along the Reno valley there were hundreds of private ice-houses, destroyed during the years by landslides or by the erosive action of the river itself.

Today the village of Le Piastre is nationally famous for its humorous Liars Italian Championship, began in 1966. Yet it is with a truthful heart that we recommend our holiday accommodation in Le Piastre. This lovely holiday estate hosts four cosy self-catering apartments which share a swimming pool overlooking the valley. The tiny hamlet comprising the flats offers many scenic corners surrounded by colourful flowers where one can enjoy a glass of wine or read a book enjoying the exquisite hospitality of owners, Maria and Massimo. Here guests can spend an amazingly relaxing holiday in close touch with the natural beauties of the Tuscan mountains yet be conveniently located for daily trips to the art cities of Florence, Pisa and Lucca. Certainly the setting for an unforgettable holiday far from the madding crowd.

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