Photo ©Sailko
Quarrata
In the territory of Montalbano, surrounded by nature and splendid villas

The territory around Quarrata extends through the hills of Montalbano, a setting that the Medici family loved greatly and chose as their hunting grounds. Ferdinando II, in particular, was dedicated to creating the Barco Reale reserve in the 17th century, a wooded terrain enclosed by three kilometres of walls, crisscrossed by waterways and dotted with villas. Still today, this immense forest of oak trees is home to wild animals and rich vegetation.

The area of Quarrata is known for its artisan tradition, leading it to be known as the "city of furniture". This district produces various types of objects, such as framed and upholstered sofas, in classical and Renaissance style, and other furnishings.

What to see in Quarrata

Also commissioned by the Medici, who obviously loved this landscape, was the Villa La Magia, a residence now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the other Medici villas in Tuscany and a spectacular example of the harmony between nature and the work of mankind. Located in a 30-hectare park, it was conceived of as a place for the family to spend their free time and as a base for demanding royal hunts. Today, visitors can walk through the English-style garden and explore at the quaint limonaia, which was built by later owners. One interesting element is the presence of a diffused collection of artworks by international artists, making it a sort of park museum of land art. Nature dominates all around thanks to the Bosco della Magia, part of the villa’s estate. This protected area is inhabited by many animals, including 26 varieties of colourful butterflies.

Another protected area is Querciola, which overlaps slightly with Quarrata and stands out for its wetlands and pond, where birds like herons, ducks and white storks live, all of which can be easily observed thanks to educational trails.

To completely understand the history of Quarrata and its people, there are two particular museums to visit. The Ferruccia Collection of Sacred Art, in the Church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo, contains artworks, furnishings and liturgical vestments conserved for centuries, while the Filet Museum, inside the beautiful rooms at the Villa La Magia, is dedicated to the fine craft of embroidery, its artisans having weaved the history of the town.

Nearby

An ideal itinerary in the Pistoia area undoubtedly begins in the city of Pistoia, named Italian Capital of Culture in 2017. It's rich in museums and art and history can be breathed in the streets and piazzas where culture is ever-present. There are also many annual events, such as the Pistoia Blues music festival.

Don't miss the delightful villages enriched by beautiful villas, fortresses, ruins of towers and the medieval atmosphere, found in places such as Serravalle Pistoiese. The town still retains the historic, typically medieval structure, that sits on its perch to strategically control the surrounding area.

The hamlets of Serravalle are also worth a visit. Scattered over a large area, they each have particular sites of interest. Among these are Cantagrillo, Casalguidi, Castellina and Vinacciano, characterized by elegant villas immersed in the green that offer beautiful views of the valley.

Events

The September Quarratino event is organized every year to celebrate the patron f the municipality. It features a rich programme of events that includes concerts, theatrical performances, lectures and market exhibitions.

Traditionally, there is also the Palio dei Rioni, a sporting event that involves the eight districts of the city: Drago, Giraffa, Istrice, Leone, Lupa, Bear, Pantera and Puma. This is an important opportunity to semd messages of inclusion and kinship through sport, spreading a sense of community among all citizens.

Typical dishes and products

Quarrata is also great for gluttons: tradition and innovation create high quality food products ranging from oil to wine, chocolate and more. The local cuisine draws on the rich Tuscan tradition, favoring recipes linked to the peasant tradition, such as black cabbage soup, spelt soup and pappa col pomodoro.