Today, we were leaving for Lucca when a friend mentioned that we should stop by Collodi and show the kids the town that is famous for it’s connection to the famous Italian story, Pinocchio. (Apparently, the author’s pen name was “Carlo Collodi,’ which he chose as a tie to his mother’s native village.)
After a great day biking around Lucca and eating small mountains of gelato, we hit the road for Collodi. When we pulled up on a late August afternoon, it felt as if this town had been long-forgotten, but with several shops overflowing with Pinocchio toys and a giant statue of him welcoming us into town, we parked and wandered around to see what awaited us.
We soon stumbled upon the Pinocchio Park, which seemed like the best option. After all, we had already paid for parking, got the kids out of their car seats and strapped them in. As we stood in the empty ticket area with faded murals on the walls around us, we forked over €44 for the 5 of us to enter with the feeling that we were overpaying for what we were about to experience.
We walked in and looked around. None of the rides were currently running, as there was a puppet show in progress. One single employee ducked behind an old stage and performed (in Italian) the story of Pinocchio for the small crowd sitting out in the audience.
We cringed and continued on taking note that we had just paid a chunk of change to to enter a park that is completely in a timewarp. The park consists of, literally, three tiny, vintage rides- each kid can ride each one twice, a small playground, a little trail to follow with a zipline, a few dusty caravans to walk through, a little craft hut and a snack bar. There are some bronze sculptures dotted around and a giant shark/whale feature.
BUT- we spent two and half hours there and our kids loved it. It was simple fun. They rode a little Venetian-themed boat carousel of gondolas. They tinkered inside the music garden on little coloured pipes. They coloured hats in the craft shed with a kind worker who assembled and decorated little accessories to complete their efforts. Edie, meanwhile, happily got filthy playing the dirt during their fun.
It wasn’t what we had expected, and I wouldn’t recommend this stop for anyone who is crunched for time in Tuscany. However, if you’re in the area for a while, I would say- go for it. Make a day in a tiny town that has lived beyond its prime- but you’ll love the sweet reminder of your own childhood as you watch your kids play there. (I mean, I didn’t have a childhood in Italy, but Tyler & I both commented on how much the experience felt like our own memories.) It’s not fancy, but it’s a sweet way to let them explore and have fun- and when they’re little, that’s kind of the goal, right?
If you’re need help finding Collodi by public transport, you can either take a train to nearby Pescia and bus in, or train to Lucca and take a bus directly from there to Collodi.
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy