Collodi Castle, the lost village

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In the heart of the province of Pistoia, Tuscany, there is a fairy-tale village. Steep slopes and climbs, picturesque hamlets enveloped in a magical aura and verdant paths. In the place that gave birth to the puppet Pinocchio, the distant hamlet of Collodi Castle stands out, lost in time more than in space. This ancient Medieval village, dating back to the 12th century, still preserves the timeless charm of its immortal stone buildings and hard pavements. It is over these cobblestones, along every lane, that are engraved ancient and mysterious testimonies of men.

A Merels board in Piazza della Fontana, Collodi Castle

Best known for the adventures of Pinocchio and its author Carlo Lorenzini, who was born there, Collodi is today a hamlet of Pescia. Reliable historical documents suggest that the first urban settlement dates back to the 12th century. Probably it was the village now called ‘Castle’ and a fortified defensive bulwark. A small settlement was constructed here, which can still be visited and is well preserved from the neglect of time. The village is rather small, characterized by stone-paved lanes. On the pavement along the village there are interesting engravings.

A walk in the village of Collodi Castle

The entrance to the Borgo is marked by a disrupted arch and a fortification; on the side a slab reminds us that we are at Pietro Nenni’s street.

At the end of a narrow street is a small square overlooked by two religious buildings. From here starts Via Lunga, which leads to Piazza della Fontana.

The pavement remains are spread throughout the village, but it is in Piazza della Fontana that most of the engravings are concentrated, including: a notable number of Merels boards; the Alquerque; crosses and other particular symbolisms, still being studied:

We do not know who has left all these testimonies, but what is certain is that Collodi was founded as a military village. Therefore, it is probable that soldiers spent their time playing the game of Filetto and Alquerque on the paving stones. The Merels board, in fact, is the exact chessboard for the game of Filetto. However, some scholars speculate on a deeper meaning linked to these engravings: is it possible that a symbolism unknown to us is still hidden in Collodi Castle?

Samuele Corrente Naso

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