Serravalle Pistoiese is unknown to many tourists who travel to Tuscany. It sits between Lucca and Florence, a perfect day trip destination from both cities. It is a small commune, and many of you might have never heard of it. However, it has many monuments, churches, towers, and a medieval castle.
We visited it coincidentally on the last day of our summer Tuscany trip on the way to Florence Airport. Because Serravalle Pistoiese is not far from the main road, we stopped at this place and had a short break. To our surprise, this small place was not without charm.
The unexpected silence
Serravalle Pistoiese was so silent but was surprisingly beautiful. We did not even see a single person on such a sunny Saturday morning. We were able to take some pictures without someone continually popping into our photos.
Two interesting churches
There are two interesting churches. The first one is Pieve di Santo Stefano, which was built at the beginning of the 13th century. The church had a single nave, and its contemporary bell tower was the watchtower of the castle. In the first half of the 17th century, the interior was completely altered with the addition of structures and decorations in Baroque style. The top section of the bell tower and the steeple were added later.
The other church is San Michele Arcangelo’s church which was presumably built in the 12th century. It was reconstructed in a Romanesque style with a single nave and wall-face in stone ashlars in 1216. The interior still preserves 14th-century frescos of the Florentine school. Along the south side are arcades in bright orange colour built in 1616. It looks like a small street in front of a church.
The friendly tourist office
The other thing which surprised us was the tourist office. It was on Saturday morning this office was still open. The lady could speak pretty good English. She was so patient and friendly to provide us tourist information about the area. Upon leaving, the lady also gave us some gifts, such as a beautiful notepad.
There was much information available in the office. We learned that there are so many local events taking place at different times of the year. Besides, there are also many sites not far from Serravalle, for example, the Montecatini Terme.
The Rocca Nuova fortress
At the end of the village is the Castruccio-era fortress, now known as the Rocca Nuova. It has a unique triangular shape with a hexagonal tower.
The Rocca Nuova fortress in Serravalle
Other small villages to explore
Serravalle is also famous for its hamlet spreading throughout the surrounding area among the stretches of olive groves. Each one is unique in its way. These include Cantagrillo, Casalguidi, Castellina, and Vinacciano, which are home to several historic buildings. Surrounded by nature, these villages boast views of the valleys below.
Where to stay
Most hotels are in the surrounding area. But two of them are close to the centre:
How to get there
Trains from Pisa or Florence go to Serravalle Pistoiese. Please check the train schedule.