Walking along the Cessana Stream is a very suggestive experience. It will allow you to discover the local flora, history pills, curiosity of the place and breathe in the scents of the forest and countryside.
You can meet this waterway along the Via Cessana, the asphalt road that connects Borgo to Buggiano to Campioni, but also following the different paths that cross it.
Water was a basic element for the birth and development of both the castles of Buggiano, Colle and Stignano and the town of Borgo a Buggiano.
The torrent Cessana, along with other smaller scattered in the area, gave energy to mills (some still visible today) allowing the production of flour and olive oil that have always been the basis of the food of the territory.
THE NAME OF THE RIVER CESSANA
“Standipesce or Standipescio” was the ancient medieval name of the stream, which was preserved until the early 800.
Cessana probably comes from the Latin “Cessus” that is impervious and hidden, to identify perhaps the high part, very wooded, of the water stream.
The creek was born in the locality of LE PIANE in the municipality of Massa and Cozzile as “Fosso del Cessana”. It is fed by several ditches that always enter the right bank of the river. From north to south: Fosso del Piaggione della Stradella, Piamazzese, Castelvecchio, Vergaie and Soralle. It flows between the two hills of the Municipality of Buggiano with the Castles of Colle and Buggiano on the eastern side, of Stignano to the west.
It flows then in the plain crossing Borgo a Buggiano along the ancient western walls (today Via Mazzini) and further south, in Padule, it feeds with its waters, among the clearest of Valdinievole, the Righetti area, a real oasis for the fauna and the marsh flora, protected by the Consortium of the Padule di Fucecchio.
Short dictionary of the Cessana torrent
Bozzi:dams of the stream that create pools quite deep, so that the local boys love to swim in the summer.
Bottacci:were the basins of water accumulation near the mills and factories along the creek.
Ritrecini:horizontal wheel on which the jet of water arrived.
Palmenti: millstones of mills.
Flora: the trees and plants you can observe
The territory is quite varied.
The hilly part that opens on the villages of Colle and Buggiano is harmonious, poetic and is characterized by green swans, olive groves as far as the eye and here and there rows of vines, fruit trees and mulberry trees. During the spring the field flowers fill the green areas left uncultivated and the roadsides, offering a suggestive spectacle.
More inland, however, in the wooded part, there are chestnuts, oaks, holm oaks, hornbeams, some pines but especially robinie pseudoacacie (also known as acacias), a particularly infesting species.
Strong also the presence of willow and elder, lung ferns.
What you can see following the stream along the Via Cessana:
Molino dei Frati (formerly a molino alle conce)
The building, beyond the bridge at the Lavatoio Pubblico, on the road to Stignano, was once a mill-crusher of the Augustinian Friars of the Selva (XVII century) and is now used for metal working. The bottaccio, still visible, consisted of monumental brick walls. It worked as a crusher until the 80s of the last century.
Molino del Gamboni (formerly Molino la Tromba)
This mill, owned by the Sannini family, has been run by the Gamboni family since the second half of the 18th century.
It was enlarged in the 19th century by activating four millstones and a crusher. The mill involved not only wheat and other cereals, but also chestnuts and acorns.
The landscape of the Buggianesi hills was therefore different from what we see today, with woods of chestnut trees, holm oaks and oaks.
The Gamboni, who later became owners of this hydraulic mill, honoured their centuries-old history of millers, grinding wheat and maize, until the 70s of the last century.
The mill, today, has been maintained intact (with the bottaccio, the inlets of the water, the millstones and the vaults that support the building from which the water discharged from the ritrecini came out), keeping inside even the palms and nineteenth-century wooden hoppers!
Ancient Aqueduct of Bellavista
Imposing structure of the ‘700 with three arches, with the coat of arms, in pietra serena, of the family “Feroni”. It led the water of the spring of Capofico up to the Castle of Bellavista, crossing the small “Rio delle Due”, which descends from Stignano.
The Ponticino – Romanesque bridge
With its bold architectural structure, it is certainly the oldest bridge of the Cessana and its image has become the “logo” of the Torrente.
The Ponticino was used by the farmers of Stignano to access the mills located on the left bank of the river.
It was also an important element of communication between Stignano and Buggiano Castello which, until the end of the 1700s, constituted the political-administrative centre of the Community.
On the right side of the stream, between the Ponticino and the driveway further south, there is still a segment of the pavement, currently covered with soil, of the ancient “Way that goes from Stignano to Buggiano”.
THE CONSORTIUM OF THE PADULE OF FUCECCHIO has restored it with traditional material, respecting the still completely intact landscape of the valley of the Cessana.
A wider and more complex project of requalification and environmental enhancement has involved, in addition to the embankments and walls, all the public bridges of the stream; with a recovery of the river toponymy, through the installation of glazed terracotta tiles.
Molino dei Monti (formerly Molino Standipesce)
Former factory renovated for home use.
In the 17th century Maria Francesco Dei and in the 19th century Vincenzo Sannini were owners, both belonging to well-known Borghigian families.
At the side of the mill passes a mule track, “Via del Molino”, which climbing up the hill of Buggiano, exit at Porta Sermolli.
It is in good condition (paved part, cobbled part) covered only with a layer of soil.
The mule tracks, in addition to connecting the urban centers with the mills, constituted, in the historical period before the reclamation, when the waters of the marsh area lapped the hilly slopes, important segments of the communication between Pistoia and Lucca.
Halfway up the coast, the most famous route passed through Buggiano Castello, descended to Cessana, went up to Stignano, continued to La Costa and led, as an intermediate stage, to the City of Pescia.
Source of Capofico or Capofio
The marquis Feroni, in 1696, obtained from the Grand Duke of Tuscany the concession of the Source of Capofico and the Community remained only the minor springs placed below this locality, which fed a source, from which, until a few years ago, The Borghigians drew a fresh and delicious water.
To the north of the current private driveway, the old iron bridge with stone blocks flooring, shows the pipeline that still brings the water from the spring to the Villa di Bellavista.
At the same time, the Feroni also channeled the waters of the “Fontana delle Fate” for water uses of the villa, but also to provide the large pool of the garden. The aqueduct fed and still feeds Villa Bellavista.
The spring is located on the left side of the “Rio delle Due” in Stignano.
Bozzo dei Vecchi
The Cessana Creek is characterized by a series of drafts, with the respective beautiful waterfalls. They were, in the past, used by women,who went down to the river from the hill castles to wash clothes, by people to wash (the bathtub, until the end of the Second World War, was the privilege of a few …) or to make, in summer, real baths.
The creek was also used for fishing.
The freshwater fish has been in fact an important resource of the poor diet of the population of the Municipality of Buggiano, from the Middle Ages until the end of the 19th century.
The fish of the Padule was sold every day, under the Loggia (now disappeared) in Piazza Salutati al Borgo: eels, tenches, chubs, etc.
The Benedictine friars of Buggiano, before the Medici reclamations, even owned an island (‘Isola della Badia”) in the waters of the Padule, for fishing and drying fish in winter!
Bozzo della Cava
It takes its name from the quarry of pietra serena, located under the western walls of Buggiano Castello.
The stones of the quarry constituted, at the end of the seventeenth century, a precious material for the construction of the Castle of Bellavista.
In the early 800’s, the Municipality used the extraction of stones to pave “Via Francesca” (today, Corso Indipendenza) of Borgo a Buggiano.
In this period, the paving of the roads in general, even those of the hilly villages, was almost all paved, like the old mule tracks.
The route of the “Via della cava”, paved and partially paved, can still be found today, despite being covered by debris.
It started from under the garden of the house Ricordi di Buggiano Castello, near a medieval watchtower, whose ruins are still preserved today, bordered the stone extraction yard and bloomed in Cessana, near the mill of the Badia.
Molino della Colombaia
“Colombaia” is the name of the locality where the former water mill is located. In ancient times it was the “Molino della Badia” of the Benedictine Friars of Buggiano Castello.
In the nineteenth century we find the owners of the mill the Magnani brothers, wealthy entrepreneurs of the paper mills of Pescia.
With the purchase of the farms and the Villa of Bellavista, they became the richest landowners in the Municipality of Buggiano.
Today the mill has been transformed into a civil home and, like all the other hydraulic factories of the Cessana, for the attention of the Municipal Administrations and for the sensitivity of the owners, has maintained the original architectural typology.
Molino di Stecchino
It is located in “Ladroneccia” 100 meters north of the Ponte di Campioni.
It is currently in a state of decay, but plans are being made to recover it. Just in front of the former factory there is a outlet that channels the water of the stream for the processing of feathers of the company Salpi del Borgo.
Frantoio in the seventeenth century owned by Vincenzo Landucci, became mill-mill in the nineteenth century, linked to the Villa-Fattoria dei Sermolli di Buggiano.
Above the mill there is a valuable area for vegetation, with the “Bozzo della Madonna”, which the Borghigians of the century called “Switzerland”.
Even further north there are two other mills, respectively called “Molino del Bercini” and “Molino di Maciste”, to which the current owners have paid special attention for their conservative recovery. They are connected to the Castello del Colle with the “Via delle Melina”.
What you can see following the forest paths that pass by the creek:
From here pass the paths n. 2 and n. 3.
Originally there was a mill here, built at the point of confluence between the Cessana torrent and the Fosse del Puntone di Giuda (confluent from the right).
Due to the dark character of the place, the locality was called “Inferno”.
In the nineteenth century the mill was used as a powder keg and you can find traces of this building in the vegetation.
The Mill and the bridge of Maciste
Paths 1 and 2 pass through here.
A place where time seems to have stopped. Il Mulino has been converted into a holiday home, while the bridge has maintained its original appearance and is among the most loved places by the locals and by all those who love to walk in this area.
From here pass the trails n 1 and 2
The stream passes near the hill of Castelvecchio that hosted the ancient town of Castiglion Veteri, destroyed in the ‘200 and was rebuilt not far (on the hill called Pietrabona) and took the name of Colle di Buggiano.
Of the old castle there is no trace and in its place there is a house.
In this territory the chestnut tree was also known as “bread tree” because from its cultivation it was obtained chestnut flour that has fed entire generations.