Serravalle Pistoiese, its name already points to its destiny. That of "tightening" (serrare in Italian), or better still, embodying the natural lock that opens and closes the door to the Valdinievole, and thus a key location in the Tuscan geography over the centuries. The Romans, first and foremost, sensed the area's importance and built a small castrum, which served as a staging post for armies in transit on the Cassia Clodia.
It was during the Middle Ages that Serravalle Pistoiese became a decisive point of contest between the main players of Tuscan geopolitics. Pistoia, Lucca and Florence all fought over it in battle, each leaving traces of their passage as witnessed by the stories of the two fortresses. There’s the Nuova - used by Lucca and Florence in the fight against Pistoia before they decided to turn their army against the castle of Serravalle Pistoiese, conquered for its unusual and extremely enticing position. And there’s the second fortress, the Vecchia and its Torre del Barbarossa, which allowed you to cast your gaze and dominate the two valleys on both sides of the castle. Another little gem is the Oratorio della Vergine Assunta, a church that’s completely frescoed by the Pistoia school of the 14th century, depicting, among other things, the Passion of Christ, the Last Judgment and the Crucifixion.
Proof of Serravalle Pistoiese's centrality is represented by the Via Francigena, which passes right by the Castle and the village, taking pilgrims from Pistoia to Altopascio. The village is still home to two religious treasures: the Chiesa di San Michele and that of Santo Stefano, two churches from the 13th century.The town's patron is St. Louis or, as they call him here, San Lodovico, and celebrations in his honour are held every year in the second half of August.
In the end, however, the communal struggles waned and a modern road network got the better of the "lock" of the valley... In 1960, the only tunnel on the Firenze-Mare highway was excavated here. The Castle now passes above the heads of motorists, who are, however, welcome to stop and continue on foot along the beautiful trails that wind through in these mountains. Among the main ones are those that start in the village and take you to Castellina and Vinacciano. If Castellina watches us from above then Vinacciano welcomes us inside the "Colline di Leonardo".
Today, especially in the summer, Serravalle is the scene of many events, among them the "Assedio Alla Rocca", "Cgil Incontri”, “Serravalle Jazz” and “Serravalle Noir", all set within the spectacular scenery of the Rocca Nuova.