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MARRADI, TUSCANY: A Must-Visit For Chestnut and Nature Lovers



3 JULY 2023

View of the village of Marradi and River Lamone from Via Anacleto Francini (Image credit: Margherita Marullo)

Deep within the Mugello valley, bordering the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines mountain range, lies the picturesque, hidden gem of a village known as Marradi. A place so special, that it not only has breathtaking mountain views, epic nature trails, and a tranquil river running through it but it's also known as the "queen of Marroni chestnuts."

Marradi's chestnuts are so popular around the world, that they are legally protected, and branded as "Marrone del Mugello IGP." That esteemed recognition lends to a much anticipated annual harvesting of their chestnuts throughout the area, and a four-week-long festival to celebrate this bountiful fruit, which bears witness to hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe converging onto this tiny village in the heart of Tuscany each October.

If you're one of the millions of people who love these deliciously fragrant, wholesome nuts that grow in abundance throughout the Tuscan hills of Italy, you're in for a real treat.

Each and every Sunday, during the month of October, from morning to evening, the historic village of Marradi proudly holds its annual chestnut festival — known in Italian as Sagra delle Castagne — closing down all its streets to pedestrians and vendors in order to honor this timeless and exciting tradition.

Throughout the Marron Buono Market Exhibition of Marradi, small businesses, artisans, and shops set up tents and tables during the pre-dawn hours, lining the village streets and corners with local delicacies made from chestnuts, such as liquor, beers, flour, jams, desserts, pasta dishes, and of course the delightful, roasted chestnuts. Strolling through the festival, you'll also find additional specialty foods, handmade goods, Italian ware, and be met with the effervescent, smiling faces of proud residents and local businesses on every corner, as well as music for every generation, and activities for the kids.

River Lamone and picturesque Marradi homes (Image credit: Margherita Marullo) Chestnut harvesting in Campigno, Marradi (Image credit: Margherita Marullo)

This scenic village, with intriguing history, familial bonds dating back centuries, and birthplace to the beloved Italian poet, Dino Campana, may be small in stature in comparison to locations like Florence and Rome, but its larger-than-life presence as a unique place of beauty, nature, and tranquility is unprecedented.

Featured in The New York Times for its central location from the Province of Florence, the village of Marradi is easily accessible by regional trains from Florence. During the chestnut festival, an authentic steam train can be taken from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy into the heart of the village, providing visitors with a truly memorable experience as they travel through the stunning Tuscany region.

And, if you fancy partaking in harvesting chestnuts from the forest-filled, mountains of Marradi — in addition to attending their world-renowned chestnut festival — the local residents would be more than happy to show you where to go, and how to collect these cherished delicacies that have made them so famous. If you're planning a trip to Italy in the autumn season, and you're a lover of chestnuts and gorgeous Tuscan landscapes, head on over to the famous and quaint village of Marradi in October. But make sure to plan ahead when making reservations for accommodations and train tickets. The event is so popular, they are fully booked months to one year in advance.

River Lamone, and its natural rock formations and waterfalls - Marradi (Image credit: Nina Hoxa)

Nestled between the busy cities of Florence and Faenza, the peaceful, yet bustling community of Marradi is a destination favorite for runners, cyclists, and motorcyclists, as they bravely challenge and traverse the Passo della Colla which reaches an incredible altitude of 913 m dividing Marradi and Florence. Since 1973, the 100 km del Passatore ultramarathon has taken place annually on the last Saturday in the month of May, passing through the proud heart of Marradi.

With a host of activities such as mountain biking, trekking, adventurous excursions, annual harvests, literary walks, outdoor markets, a kaleidoscope of events and festivals for every season, and historic sites dotted throughout the area, it goes without saying that both living in and visiting this hidden gem within the Upper Mugello Valley provides those who walk its historic streets, and traverse its stunning landscape an experience of a lifetime that won't soon be forgotten.

River Lamone on a spring day going towards Biforco, Marradi (Image credit: Margherita Marullo)

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