Colognora Valleriana in the comune of Villa Basilica (not to be confused with Colognora di Pescaglia, famous for its chestnut museum, Catalani’s birthplace and the setting of Spike Lee’s film “Miracle at St Anna” or even Colognora di Compito near the Pisan Mount), is the next village after Boveglio on the way down from the Passo del Trebbio to Collodi. I’ve already said something about Boveglio at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/visiting-in-the-rain/ so now let’s talk about this lesser known Colognora.
The name clearly derives from Latin “colonia” and it’s one of the many villages in our area founded by Roman legionaries returning from their spell of duty and being given land to retire on by the Empire.
The first thing that strikes one about Colognora is its sign which adds “Isola linguistica” – linguistic isle – to its name. Does this mean the people here speak a different language? They certainly understood my Italian and when I asked them about the linguistic isle no-one seemed to know about it. There is another other linguistic island in our area at Gombitelli near Pescaglia. Both these places are supposed to speak a language derived from Provencal but I need to do further investigation on this rather controversial subject. (There’s more information for readers of Italian at https://sites.google.com/site/emanuelesaiu/colognora-google-e-i-longobardi)
.Spread out on a narrow and steep mountain spur Colognora is yet another one of these fortified villages like Boveglio and is built around a castle which now is no longer clearly distinguishable except for some massive entrance arches..
The parish church is dedicated to Saint Michael the archangel and contains some interesting pictures and has a fine campanile:
Colognora is definitely worth a stop and a stroll around its streets reveals some fine domestic architecture and some delightful corners.
When I first visited Colognora I heard some lovely piano music and was told that a young person in Colognora was practising hard to become a concert pianist. I wonder if their dream came true.
There is a very good web site for Colognora Valleriana at http://www.colognora.com/. I note that since I was there last time a museum of rural life has opened up. The pictures of it at http://www.colognora.com/foto%202010/museo/index.htm show that it’s well worth a visit. Perhaps next time…