The province of Pistoia is located in the northern part of Tuscany bordering the provinces of Lucca to the West, Prato to East, Florence and Pisa on the south side. The northern part of this province is characterized by the beautiful mountain Abetone which is part of the Apennine chain bordering with Emilia Romagna.
The area known as the Pistoia mountain range comprises a vast area of the Apennines to the north of Pistoia, between the Abetone and the pass of Collina, including the courses of the Ombrone, Lima, and Reno rivers. The history of the range centers on its roads, the oldest of which is the old Roman road that linked Pistoia to Bologna along the valley of the Reno, after which there was a Longobard road that marched to Modena via the Abetone. A number of crossroads linked these two major routes at various points forming a network of roads controlled through the centuries by Pistoia. However, soon the main communication routes that linked the north of the peninsula to the south shipped to other roads and areas and the Pistoia range only experienced true economic development in the 20th century thanks to tourism and other industrial activities. Before that, and up to very recently, the livelihood of the inhabitants of the Pistoia range depended on the chestnut woods and the ice and charcoal trade. Along the road leading up to the Abetone one encounters San Marcello, an ancient free commune proudly independent and with its past represented only by a wax Ecce Homo in the parish church. Wooden artifacts and sweet pastry made of chestnut flour are some of its most important products. Nearby is La Lima, with its impressive suspension bridge. Proceeding towards the Abetone, along the Modena road one encounters Cutigliano, the seat of important magistrates during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Moving south one encounters major thermal towns such as Montecatini and Monsummano Terme, renown centers for their beneficial waters and elegant lifestyle. The Tettuccio spa establishment in Montecatini, built in neoclassical style, is a clear example of the city’s elegance.
Pescia is famous throughout Europe for its flower market that every year attracts thousands of tourists and traders.
These cities are part of the extensive hilly area west of Pistoia between the Ombrone and the Serchio rivers, called Valdinievole from the Nievole river that crosses it from one end to the other. Leaving Pistoia in the direction of Serravalle, a medieval fortified burg placed as sentry at the top of the hill, one reaches the valley of the Nievole, where olive groves and vineyards create a verdant tapestry. Proceeding downwards one enters Monsummano.