Carlo Collodi, the author of the story of Pinocchio, was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini, who was born and grew up in Florence. The "Collodi" of his pen name was the name of the Tuscan village where Lorenzini's mother was born.
You can easily visit Collodi, where you'll find Il Parco di Pinocchio a Collodi, the Pinocchio Park of Collodi. It's a rather old fashioned kind of park from the days when you didn't need bloodcurdling death-defying rides to charm the kids.
The park tells Collodi's version of the story of Pinocchio through sculpture, mosaics and puppet shows. It features a museum with Pinocchio related items.
Beware that Collodi's version of Pinocchio is inspired by the commedia dell'arte, and it's a much a darker, complex, and socially relevant tale than the Disney adaptation; like many classic childrens tales, it is both lively adventure and adult social critique. You might want to read the Collodi's version before you go. There is a web version in English by Page by Page Books that you can access from the linkbox above.
Collodi, located in the Tuscany region of Italy, is about midway between Montecatini Terme Spa (10 km), and Lucca (15 km), and not so far from Florence (60 km). Take highway 435 heading east from Lucca towards Florence to find Collodi. Lucca is a recommended destination as well (walk the walls around the city!)
Collodi's other great attraction is 17th century Villa Garzoni, which is located across the street from Pinocchio Park. The steeply sloped land around the Villa offers a cascading garden merging the geometric symmetry of the Renaissance wtih the spectacular effects of the Baroque. The garden contains the last remaining labyrinth among Lucchese villas as well.
Pinocchio Park, Collodi
Entrance Fee at time of writing: 12 Euros (6 Euros for 3-14 and over 65 year olds)
Tickets for groups (20 person minimum) 8 Euros Each
Here is the Hours and Tickets page (In Italian) .
There are spaces in the park to have bag lunches, and there's also a restaurant, the Osteria del Gambero Rosso, inside the park.
Finding Pinocchio Hidden in the Hills
Sure, Carlo Collodi wrote Pinocchio, but who was the best illustrator? Click to the next page to find the artistry of Pinocchio tucked away in an alpine valley.