Monsummano Terme is set at the foot of Monsummano Alto hill, in northern Tuscany, between Florence and Lucca. This enchanting area is set among still unspoilt natural environments and unusual expressions of art and history. It is the western access road to Italy’s largest inland swamp, the Fucecchio Marshes, a uniquely fascinating place where Hannibal even lost an eye during his descent into Italy astride an elephant. Subsequent land reclamations have today provided an uncontaminated natural area in which to walk. With its roots lost in the mists of time, this area, in the shadow of Montalbano, has attracted our species since the Paleolithic. Do not miss the eastern part of the Montalbano complex with the villages of Monsummano Alto and Montevettolini, linked by a scenic hiking trail among the quarries and rock-climbing walls, a unique route from which to see the area from above, but especially for those who love free climbing or hang-gliding.
Going down the slope, we find the Giusti caves that have allowed Monsummano to become a renowned spa town. Further downhill there is a small town that was strongly influenced by the Medici Grand Duchy and was the birthplace of several poets and actors from various eras. Moreover, in the future, it even would like to be an attractive tourist destination for anyone visiting the heart of Tuscany.
Today, Monsummano Terme is well-known not only as a spa town but also for its footwear production, which is exported worldwide. The town is located among the last of the Montalbano foothills and at the northern border of the Fucecchio Marshes, with its wonderful natural bird reserve. For this reason, it is an excellent base from which to discover other must-see landmarks and attractions in the nearby towns of Montecatini Terme, Lamporecchio, Pistoia, Vinci (Leonardo da Vinci’s hometown), and Serravalle Pistoiese.
The current town developed around the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Fontenuova, founded by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici in 1602 following a miraculous event.
Over the years, Monsummano has remained a true destination, filled with captivating places capable of enchanting those visitors who discover them. As such, it possesses all the necessary qualities for attracting all types of tourism – cultural, food and wine, rural, winter, and conference – in addition to drawing fans of wellness and well-being. Its cultural and touristic vocation is due to the variety and quality of the local museums, which are reference points for the area and for those, like Giuseppe Giusti, who have made Monsummano known even from afar. The museums are dedicated to promoting local traditions or were created from a desire to focus on contemporary art.
Indeed, it has been the home of many illustrious figures: the poet Giuseppe Giusti (1809-1850), whose family home is today the “Giusti House State Museum“, and Ferdinando Martini (1841-1928), a brilliant politician and man of culture. The latter’s majestic Villa Renatico-Martini, built around 1887, is home to the MAC’N –Museum of Contemporary Art and the Twentieth Century, which holds the town’s collection of twentieth-century art
Facing the main square on the northern side is the Osteria dei Pellegrini. Built in stages starting in 1607, the building houses the Museum of the City and the Territory, and is divided into various sections on geology, paleontology, the environment, history, archeology, the Fucecchio Marshes and land reclamation, the grand-ducal farms, sacred art and popular religiosity, the treasure of the Madonna della Fontenuova, the Valdinievole Felix, the spas, as well as manufacturing and industrial businesses.
Two medieval settlements are located on the hills of Monsummano Alto and Montevettolini.
In the second half of the 18th century, the area around the hamlet of Cintolese was involved in the reclamation works commissioned by Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, in which various wetlands were drained. Several settlements were soon established in the filled area of the Terzo estate, with new work possibilities arising as agriculture developed in the reclaimed lands. In 1781, a new parish was established there and a new church was built, named after Saint Leopold the Confessor in homage to Grand Duke Leopoldo who was one of the saint’s descendents.
Roman Archaeological finds in Monsummano
Throughout the Roman period, human settlement seems to have been concentrated in the strip that marks the foot of the Montalbano hills. The large complexes of Villa San Paolo, at Pozzarello, and of Vaiano stand out in the network of inhabited areas indicated also by the remains of perhaps tombs found in surveys and restorations at Segalare.
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Town of Monsummano Terme