Photo © Associazione Convivio - David Dolci


51028 Maresca, Toscana Italia | (Allarga la mappa)

Sometimes there are phrases, expressions or words that sew on you like a beautiful dress that you would never want to take off. Maresca, beautiful women and fresh water, is one of those: a harmless and simple phrase that, for more than a century, has been inextricably bounded to the name of the town. The phrase, “O peach blossom, you are kindly won by Maresca, full of beautiful women and fresh water”, belongs to Beatrice di Pian degli Ontani, the well-known shepherdess poet of the Pistoia mountains, and has now become one with the hamlet of Maresca. In addition to this, there is another story that has helped to create this bond, a story as poignant as it is sad, which tells how Maresca found its name. The legend tells of a girl named Moresca who served in Palazzo Rospigliosi, the villa built by Ludovico Appiano lord of Piombino. She fell head over heels in love with her prince. Unfortunately, unlike fairy tales where everything often ends with a happy ending, the young girl was badly rejected and, out of displeasure, she threw herself into the stream, drowning herself. Since then both the river and the village are said to have taken her name. Whether it is just a legend or the harsh truth, it changes very little now. However, Maresca’s name is not only linked to love and poetry.

Indeed, its name is familiar to all those who love walking in the mountains, or at least the results of its efforts and commitment are. The rules for signposting mountain paths are called “Norme di Maresca”, since they were signed here in 1950 and then applied throughout Italy.n Therefore, it is a bit as if the village guides you on your excursions and walks.

Among all the bounds that the village has, the strongest and most lasting one is certainly the one with the Teso Forest: a visceral and ancestral bond that unites them beyond time. Indeed, the forest was the villagers’ first source of sustenance and at least the first settlements were mainly devoted to hunting, sheep farming and forestry. Things have changed radically with the construction of the Papini Ironworks, which is mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1388 in which it is established that an ironworks in the village of Gavinana located on the Maresca stream was sold for 100 florins to an iron merchant, making it clear that in those days it was already a thriving business. The ironworks remained active until the 1980s and, after a long restoration work by the Ecomuseo della Montagna Pistoiese, it was reopened to the public in 2016, becoming part of the eco-museum circuit in the iron itinerary. The ironworks is the only building in the country that has managed to resist adversity. The old mill of the village was blown away by a sudden flood of the river, while Palazzo Rospigliosi was destroyed in the heavy bombing that Maresca suffered in 1944, when the allies tried to hit Marshal Kesserling. In Maresca the link with its waters is made even stronger by “Le Ginestre” [Link?], the only indoor swimming pool in the Pistoia mountains, flanked by an outdoor swimming pool which is mainly used in summer. The swimming pool mainly organizes swimming courses for young adults but, in summer, it also organizes unmissable parties and events.

The Teso forest remains still to observe its country as it runs frantically. In silence, it enjoys its 1900 hectares and the company of chestnut, fir and beech trees, including one of the oldest in Italy. It is the ideal environment for those who love nature and long walks, and from here you can also easily reach the Montanaro refuge and reconnect to the main paths of the Apennines, but only respecting the forest and its tranquility.