For those who come from the “plain”, a word that mountain people use to describe the whole area of Pistoia, Prato and Florence just to point out the difference between living in the city and living on the mountain, Pontepetri is the door from which you enter the mountain area.
Pontepetri is not only located on the border between San Marcello Piteglio and Pistoia but it is also crossed by it so that, still today, Pontepetri is partly under the administration of Pistoia and partly under San Marcello’s one.
To be a border village, being in a certain position is not enough but you also need to develop some specific experience and mature a certain disposition. Pontepetri has always played this role at its best, also thanks to the experience gained over the millennia. It may sound exaggerated but in Pontepetri there is one of the most important prehistoric sites of the Pistoia mountains. After a careful and meticulous study, its origin was traced back to about 12,000 – 10,000 years ago. On site, thousands of fossils were found, some of which of marine origin, which made it possible to discover a lot about the origins of human life on the mountain. In a less remote past, it was indicated as a possible place for Catalina’s defeat and death in battle, but many believe that this peculiarity belongs to Campo Tizzoro.
Throughout the Middle Ages, it saw wayfarers and pilgrims passing by – including, as they say, emperors –, who traveled the Romea Nonantolana seeking the forgiveness of sins.
In the most recent years, its life has been marked by the course of the Reno river and the Maresca stream, that have brought its population to deal mainly with iron working and ice production.
To show this aspect of the history of Pontepetri the Ecomuseum of the Montagna Pistoiese has created the Iron Museum and the Didactic Garden, where it is possible to see movies, tools, and ironworking machinery. In addition to this, the Ecomuseum takes care of the Madonnina glacier, a few kilometers from the town center, along the road leading to Pistoia.
Pontepetri experienced firsthand the major changes that have characterized the life of the Pistoia mountains: the construction of the Ximeniana road was the first real development factor for the village; the construction of the Porrettana Railway brought tourism, thanks to its proximity to the Pracchia station; and finally, the construction of SMI in Campo Tizzoro gave work to most of its inhabitants.
However, Pontepetri is not just this as it also has a very strong religious vocation. The patronal feast of Sant’Anna is one of the most important and felt celebrations for the inhabitants of the mountain. The village church, initially dedicated to Sant’Anna and now dedicated to Santa Maria and Sant’Isidoro, was built where once stood a small chapel housing the frescoed tabernacle depicting the Madonna and Child, which, according to popular tradition and legends, were the protagonist of numerous miracles. The bell tower was re-elevated over the years, but the lower part of the first ledge is still the original one, giving us an idea of what the church looked like a few years ago. The Feast of Sant’Anna is celebrated on 26 July: a historic fair within the country that sees the whole community engaged, for the previous week, in events and animation festivals in the village.