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Signa
The city of straw a stone's throw from Florence

The identity of Signa is closely linked to the water of the Arno on which the city stands. The river has brought opportunities for trade and exchange since ancient times. The bridge that crosses it dates back to 1120 and was for a long time the only bridge between Florence and Pisa, becoming fundamental for the mercantile development of Signa. Located west of Florence, its oldest area, also called castello, is located in the upper part of the city.

What to see in Signa

If you want to know how Signa came to be known throughout the West, you must visit the Museum of Straw and Weaving: a collection of hats and a path dedicated to tools and machinery for processing. From the eighteenth century, thanks to the intuition of the entrepreneur Domenico Michelacci, known as Bolognino, the cultivation of Marzuolo wheat (a small ear with small grains), began to obtain straw to be woven for the production of hats. The art of weaving grew exponentially and the quality was so high that even the Grand Duke Cosimo I commissioned headdresses for several European sovereigns.

Signa, with its ancient history, is also full of art and culture, with historic buildings that reveal its past. Castello is undoubtedly worth seeing. Here you can find the main churches of the town such as the Church of San Giovanni, which houses the remains of the Blessed Giovanna that's highly venerated throughout the area and whose stories are illustrated in frescoes. You can also find the parish church of San Lorenzo, which houses frescoes by the Maestro di Signa and Pietro Nelli.

Nearby

For those who want to enjoy peace and quiet, choose Parco dei Renai, an area protected by the WWF that offers a lake from where you can admire the mirrored nature or take a nice refreshing bath. Those arriving from Florence can reach Renai from the Cascine Park, following the cycle path along the Arno for 11 kilometers.

In the nearby town of Lastra a Signa, you can visit the Enrico Caruso Museum and the Monumental Park of Bellosguardo, purchased in 1906 by the famous tenor who loved the peace and beauty of the countryside surrounding Florence.

Events

The Ancient September Fair (Antica Fiera di Settembre) takes place in the first week of September with shows, fireworks, a medieval banquet and the highly-anticipated Palio degli Arcieri, a challenge between the 4 communities of Signa held in the Ivy Garden of the castle. The "Popolo" winner of the competition is awarded the "Palio" and the right and honor of precedence in the Historical Parade for the Feast of Blessed Giovanna that takes place on Easter Monday.