The 20th Century

  • 1. Railway Station

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    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.

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  • 2. The House of Ruggero Leoncavallo

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    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 .

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  • 3. Giuseppe Verdi and Montecatini Terme

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    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.

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  • 4. The Kursaal

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    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.

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  • 5. The Market

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    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.

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  • 6. The City Library and the Forini Lippi Villa

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    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. 

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The other lines of cultural subway