Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood
The town of Collodi, Italy, about 45 miles west of Florence, is set on a slope behind a fabulous 17th-century villa. The garden, built as a kind of fantasy pleasure park for the Garzoni family and their noble guests, offers terraces, flower beds, grand staircases, splashing fountains and antique marble statues surrounding the Baroque villa.
Walk through the tunnel under the villa and follow the path up the hill, and the stone houses of Collodi speak to a very different reality.
Ascending its precipitously steep cobblestone main street, you come to a small piazza with communal sinks for laundry. The town is older than the villa and was probably originally built on the hilltop for purposes of strategic defense. It is where the working-class people lived, the ones who tended the nobility’s villa and gardens. It’s hard to know what these laborers were thinking as they trudged back up the hill after a long day of working at the villa. It is probably fair to say they were tired.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…