Italy for Beginners
Every journey involves possible pitfalls that can lead to awkward situations or unexpected expenses when things go really bad.
«Centuries ago there lived…
“A king!” my little readers will say all at once.
No, children, you are mistaken. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood»
(Carlo Collodi, “The Adventures of Pinocchio, chapter 1)
I think everyone, even the little ones, might have guessed who we are talking about. Yes, you got it right: we are dealing with the most famous piece of wood ever: Pinocchio.
This fictional character has turned into a global icon. There are 260 translations of the book, hundreds of editions, stage or film adaptions (Disney for instance). What more is there to say? Pinocchio is a worldwide literary masterpiece!
Everyone knows the story of the most famous wooden puppet, but not everyone knows that the author of the book, Carlo Collodi (a.k.a Carlo Lorenzini) was born in Florence and that he set the entire plot of the book in our beautiful Tuscany.
Some sources place the story of Pinocchio in the northern area of Florence and the reason for this hypothesis deals with the “Villa Il Bel Riposo”, a magnificent house where Collodi stayed, guest of his brother, during the second half of the nineteen century. This is the place where he wrote the book “The Adventures of Pinocchio”, and the surrounding landscapes surely inspired the locations of the story and some of the characters were based on real people he got to know during his stay. One of the most tender stories is the one of Giovannina (the daughter of the gardener of Villa il Bel Riposo) who spent so much time with the writer because she loved listening to the incredible stories that he invented. And guess what? One of these
stories concerned a special child, made of wood. Giovannina was blond and she had got blue eyes…it goes without saying that she became the famous Blue Fairy.
Moreover, the part of the tale in which Pinocchio is hanged to the Giant Oak Tree is set in the province of Lucca. The famous tree still exists, it can be visited, and it is described as “the oak of the witches”.
Last but not least, we cannot forget to mention Collodi, a beautiful little town where Carlo Lorenzini spent his childhood. As you can see, the name of this town inspired the pseudonym Carlo Collodi is known for worldwide. In this medieval town perched on a hill, you can find two extraordinary attractions (managed by the Carlo Collodi Foundation): Pinocchio’s Park and the memorable Garzoni Garden. The latter is one of the best-preserved baroque gardens in Europe. On the other hand, the former was not created as a traditional amusement park, but it was thought as an instrument of education and it is an incredible place where you can experience the adventures of Pinocchio wondering through an evocative path characterized by nature and art!
Wondering through the narrow streets, the houses and the beautiful landscapes of the typical Tuscan countryside is an experience for young and old, as is the story of Pinocchio. Pinocchio and Collodi made their fortune in Tuscany, and Geppetto clearly foresaw it:
«”What shall I call him?” he said to himself.
“I think I’ll call him PINOCCHIO.
This name will make his fortune»
(Carlo Collodi, “The Adventures of Pinocchio, chapter 3)