This guide describes the architecture of the villas, pievi, churches and the many oratories, but also the farm buildings (in particular the characteristic rows of farm labourers’ houses known as ‘corti’), as well as the landscapes in the territory of Capannori. The itineraries and suggested routes never penetrate inside the villas, or the churches. There are no descriptions of paintings, sculptures and furnishings, which are not even listed, although many of them are of great art-historical interest.
This was an editorial decision, and one should add that many of the places illustrated are privately owned, and that most of the buildings (villas) and their surrounding areas (parks and gardens) are not open to the public. Visiting some of the churches may prove difficult, because many of them are closed to worship, or rather religious services take place in them only on particular feast days and at certain times.
Thus, a somewhat different approach has been adopted to explaining the places and the numerous meritorious architectural works in the hills to the north and to the south (where the presence of villas is notable, also in terms of sheer quantity) as well as in the plain, with its numerous pievi and churches, and the constant presence of the ‘corti’.
Individual architectural works are always seen in relation to their surroundings, to the morphology of the setting, to the presence of the watercourses and of the riparian vegetation that blends into that of the villas’ parks, to the agriculture, to the network of roads, to the perspective vistas and panoramas visible from public spaces (roads) as well as from private ones (parks and villas), to the sequence of various architectural features, including minor ones (such as roads, when lined with trees, when enclosed within walls, or when marked by the presence of entrance gates, piazzali and fountains), and to their connections; some of the routes are best seen in cinematic terms.
The maps in this guide, as well as providing geographical information useful for an understanding of the places, have been designed with a view to indicating aggregations of monumental features that, in some cases, form habitational systems of particular form and purpose. The maps also show individual monumental trees, isolated or in rows, wayside shrines and oratories, even very small ones, votive Crosses and fountains: for all these elements help to qualify the landscape. The tree-lined avenues leading to the villas are clearly shown in the maps; they allow a progressive visual approach to the architecture of the palazzi. Also marked are the places from which outstanding panoramic landscapes can be seen.
In preparing the text extensive use has been made of the studies and researches of a number of authors, for the most part published by PubliEd, and occasionally extensive passages from these works have been included in full. Thanks are therefore especially due to the following: Francesca Velani, for her archival studies on the villas and parks; Maria Teresa Filieri, for her essays on the pievi and her work on the Jubilee initiative ‘Luoghi della Fede’; Giuseppe Ghilarducci, for his archival studies and publications on the religious buildings; Rosella Zanasi, for her studies on the areas of Vorno and the Compitese; Giovanni Massoni, in connection with the pieve and community of Vorno; Sebastiano Micheli, for his studies and his historical and iconographic articles on the territory of Capannori; Mariano Manfredini, for his publications on the Capannori area and on the wayside shrines.
I should also like to thank: Lisa Piuppani, for her assistance in compiling this guide; Giordano Bedini, for drawing the numerous detailed maps that illustrate this volume; Daniele De Santi, for his help in preparing the itineraries.
The guide comprises three itineraries that cover the principal areas forming the Comune of Capannori: the northern area, considered from west to east, on the slopes of the Pizzorne; the central area of the plain that extends from north to south, with the capolugo of the Comune at its centre; and the southern area, along the slopes and in the valleys of the Monte Pisano. These are three areas with different morphological and habitational characteristics, but which together constitute a singular historical landscape of the greatest interest.