Hello All.. thank you for checking into my blog.
Here I’m going to show you a few of the things that caught my eye in Montecatini.
The first was a Terme Redi in Montecatini, a kind of municipal ‘for the people’ kind of place. I tried out some of the facilities here, and a booked a treatment for sinuses plus a thermal treatment bath. The ‘breathing’ room was full of small ‘booths’ with medical breathing apparatus. Kind of like a sci fi movie set!
I was instructed to insert the ‘breathing tubes’ into both nostrils, breath and relax. Locals were doing this with such aplomb. Old folks were particularly at ease. Take a look!
This is the best way to get to Montecatini Alto, the picturesque hilltop village set against Montecatini Terme. The Funicolare is great fun, with fabulous views of the Tuscan countryside on the way up and down. Well worth the cheap €7 rtn. They take a break between 1:00 pm and 2:30pm so time your trip accordingly. There are several restaurants and great gelato places on Alto to enjoy, or a relaxing break from your sketching.
The Funicular dates back to1898.
At the end of the XIX century, Mr. Alessandro Ferretti, an engineer from Genoa, had the idea to design a link between Montecatini Alto and Montecatini Terme, called respectively “the Castle” and “the Montecatini Baths”.
He obtained the licence from the Montecatini Municipality on October 8 1896, however he needed to find the necessary financing for this complex and expensive work.
He found his capital partners in Genoa: Mr. Carlo Barbano and Mr. Giacomo Giovannetti (the square next to the Funicular is named after them)
On March 1, 1897 the first rail works began. The dream of many inhabitants of Montecatini to be easily connected to the “Castle” was about to come true.
The excavation and building works such as viaducts, bridges and the track lasted some months.
The beginning of 1898 was spent making technical improvements and in preparing the grand opening ceremony which took place on June 4, 1898 with the participation of famous people such as the genius of the opera, Giuseppe Verdi.
Up to 1921 the two red little trains were operated by a big steam boiler located in the uphill station; subsequently, thanks to electricity, traction was carried out by a powerful electric motor.
The end of the war was followed by the years of the economic recovery. Montecatini became a very attractive thermal resort for thousands of people during summer and the Funicular was more and more utilized by the tourists who wish to visit the “Castle”.
In 1977 following some difficulties due to upgrading and fitting works, the Funicular was closed and reopened only with the contribution of the Tuscany Region allowing the coaches to be restored. A new motor and a very modern “black box” for the trip control was installed.
The activity reopening took place on August 3, 1982. Since then in order to make the vehicle safer to passengers, various mechanical traction parts have been replaced and very important upgrading works have been undertaken.
The two historical coaches, which “greet” half way, have not been modified.
The structure is the same: three compartments with wooden benches and two external balconies, the most longed-for places from which you can enjoy a wonderful panorama.
Go for a virtual ride HERE
Montecatini Alto Vino Time
Relaxing at Montecatini Alto
View from Montecatini Alto
Charming streets of Montecatini Alto
I was really surprised by the high end fashion stores in such a small town as Montecatini Terme: Fendi, Dolce E Gabbana, Dsquared2, Givenchy, Gucci and Isabel Marant to name but a few! I could only ‘drool’ at the windows, and ‘fondle’ up the fabrics!
However, not to be deterred, I took my inspiration to the many wonderful second hand markets and bagged myself a few bargains to satiate my love of fashion.