The 20th Century
1. Railway Station
At the beginning of the Thirties, because of the population and tourist growth, the city needed a bigger structure than Leopoldine Station (today “Montecatini Centro), situated behind the main church and built in 1853. Therefore on 4 August 1937 this station was inaugurated and realized according the project of Arch. Angiolo Mazzoni (Project Manager of the Railways).
The building is characterized by a rational structure, curve lines , rounded roofs and a great care for the accessories and furniture.
Everywhere National stones and home-made materials were used . The external covering is realized with knobs of travertine of Monsummano with stripes of purple Porphyry of Predazzo and with the rocks of the Grotta Maona nearby ; the fixtures are of oak with elements of brass .
Of great beauty is the clock tower with pentagonal shape , designed to separate the large glass walls of the departures hall from those of the arrival hall and the opening on a great square balance by a pool with the degrading basins.TAKE ME THERE
2. The House of Ruggero Leoncavallo
Ruggero Leoncavallo, after having been occasional guest of the city, became so attached to Montecatini, that he definitely moved there , in this small villa, and became for many years one of the most important entertainers of the cultural and musical life of the city until his death, which took place in Montecatini in 1919.
It was probably Giacomo Puccini, regular frequenter of Montecatini Terme, who presented the city to Leoncavallo. Montecatini was at that time the city of musicians ,according to a current inauguration by Giuseppe Verdi, and also Mascagni and the tenor Caruso frequented the city assiduously. Here many people became friends and the city became the place for exchanges of opinions between the great personalities of the music of that time, but also of quarrels, among which some became famous such as between Leoncavallo with Puccini and Caruso.
The small villa, inhabited by the new owners, can’t be visited .TAKE ME THERE
3. Giuseppe Verdi and Montecatini Terme
Verdi’s plaque was placed on 7 July 1901, six months after his death. Giuseppe Verdi came to Montecatini for the first time in 1882 and his last thermal holiday took place in 1900, a few months before his death.
He was a usual guest of the Locanda Maggiore, where he always stayed in the same room .
During his stays at Montecatini he went daily to the Tettuccio for drinking waters and he allowed himself long walks at Montecatini Alto, one of his preferred stops.
At Montecatini Terme Verdi found the environment suitable for his creativity and in 1885 composed most of his third act of Othello during his holidays there, and in 1889 started his Falstaff.
He wished the physician Pietro Grocco, health director of the “Terme di Montecatini” and his personal physician to be present in Milan to take care of him during the last days of his life and until his death, occurring on 27 January 1901.
On 28 January 1901 the City Council of Montecatini Terme, gathered an extraordinary sitting , decided that «to the Viale today named Tettuccio, as the way from the Terme to the Tettuccio, is given the name Viale Giuseppe Verdi; to the castle walls way , from the stopover of the funicular to the Chalet Melani, is given the name Passeggiata Giuseppe Verdi.”
His belongings , the piano and documents of various kinds (photos , documents with autographs etc.) are preserved in the Art Academy of Montecatini.TAKE ME THERE
4. The Kursaal
Il Kursaal was built in the years 1904-1905 on an area of 15.000 sq. and it included a cinema- theatre, which was the biggest theatre in the city , and an open-air cinema-garden (inaugurated on 29 July 1929 ) where in 1933 the equipment for the projection of open-air sound movies was installed for the first time in Italy . The rooms of the first 1° floor were often hosting Casinos and the building was also used as a show room .
Symbol of the lifestyle and atmosphere of that time , the Kursaal had been for a long time one of the reference centres of the society life at Montecatini.
Today you can admire the facade, the inner portico and the space at the front, which belonged to the original building . The other parts were demolished and replaced by the actual building realized according the project of the arch. Aldo Rossi.
The building occupies a block and it is used both as a residential area and for offices and businesses.
Beside the Kursaal on the opposite corner at the intersection of two important shopping and welcome streets (Corso Roma and Viale IV Novembre) we find the Grand Hotel & La Pace. The building, as it appears today, was built in 1901 at the place of the “Locanda della Pace” according the project of the architect Bernardini. It still preserves the sumptuous rooms frescoed by Galileo Chini and by the Chini manufactures, whose panels are placed at the entrance of Corso Roma, visible from the outside.TAKE ME THERE
5. The Market
In the first years of the 20th century the market at Montecatini Terme took place in the small square named Piazza XX Settembre. Because of the development of the city and the growth in consumption and more needs of hygiene regulations , it was necessary to construct a real market .
It was the period of success for Montecatini Terme as a tourism resort. The aged building was of suitable structure for the fame of the city (the railway station , the motorway ) and in May 1931 the New Market was inaugurated . It included shops , the open gallery with grit bench and the Fish Market, and particular care was taken to the floor , the selling benches and the coating of marble walls , to be continually washed through a hydrant placed in the pavilion.
The Cover Market was also frequented by the farmers, greengrocers , butchers, and fishmongers coming from the countryside and the small surrounding villages , in a mixture of smells, colors , and noises . The farmers showed the baskets of their products , the housewives bargained , the boys played. Between a cry of “fresh fish ” and a call of “the freshest vegetables ” weddings , friendship and love histories, generosity and meanness took place here.
If the Tettuccio was the elegant and educated place, which gathered authorities ,personalities , important tourists with the square of the Church as the meeting place , the market had a sense of belongings in the territory, it was the place of activities and commerce, of everyday life, and relationships .
Partially penalized in the last years , in favor of the big distribution , it has finally fully re-conquered its role.
On Saturdays it houses the rustic market with selling of the products of 0 km , Slow Food Toscana organizes information and food education meetings highlighting the quality of the growing of these lands.TAKE ME THERE
6. The City Library and the Forini Lippi Villa
The City Library at Montecatini was instituted in 1954 and opened to the public in 1957 in some rooms on via delle Saline. It was indeed necessary to find some documents, some rooms and furniture. After 25 years, for a short period it was moved to Via G. Mazzini, and in 1988 it was shifted to its actual seat ,the Villa Forini-Lippi.
The villa Forini Lippi, summer residence of a noble Florentine family, surrounded by a great park rich in extracts, some already one hundreds years old , was already used during the times of the Grand Duke Peter Leopold and we find traces of it on a plan of 1760. In the past century the villa housed the “Opera Pia della Divina Provvidenza Madonnina del Grappa" following a gift from which the Municipality of Montecatini Terme bought in 1979 also taking advantage of a great grant of the Region.
The building is made up of two floors with a basement , covered by a vault , once used as a cellar and fermenting room , as shown by the old supports for casks of serena stone still found there.
After the purchase some renovation works were made and in 2004 some rooms were fully reset with new functional shelves ; in particular the reception and the loan rooms, the Children and Boys sections , the periodical library were furnished again and the Internet Room was set.TAKE ME THERE