THINGS TO DISCOVER:
The Braccini lakes • Near the former Braccini furnace, three artificial lakes: one for sport fishing while the largest houses a bathing establishment where you can swim.
THINGS TO KNOW:
The Piaggio Museum • Created in the old factory workshops, in addition to the Vespa models, it displays a vast historical archive and the sports brands of the Piaggio group: Aprilia, Gilera, Moto Guzzi, which have collected over 100 world titles in motorcycling.
Pontedera is the gateway to the Valdera area. Due to its position at the confluence of the Rivers Era and Arno, it was at the center of the wars among Pisa, Lucca, and Florence. Since the Renaissance, Pontedera has taken on a commercial role, so much that it boasts one of the oldest annual fairs in Tuscany.
Pontedera is the city of engines. In 1924 Rinaldo Piaggio transferred part of the aeronautical construction industry from Genoa to there. Piaggio enlarged the plants and became thus an integral part of the city, even building a real neighborhood for the factory’s employees.
During the Second World War the city was bombed precisely due to the presence of aeronautical building plants. With the end of the conflict and the conversion to a motorcycle factory, Pontedera and Piaggio were part of the Italian economic boom of the 1960s.
Since 2000 Pontedera has housed the Piaggio Museum, the largest museum in Italy dedicated to motorcycles and one of the largest in Europe with 5000 square meters displaying models of pre-war railway and aeronautical production, the Vespa collection with its most famous models, the Piaggio collection with Ape Ciao and its mopeds, and the sports brands of the Piaggio group, namely Aprilia, Gilera and Moto Guzzi.
Housed in a former Piaggio warehouse, the nearby Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, center of excellence as pertains robotics and information technology.
Pontedera has also become a point of reference for contemporary art thanks to the Otello Cirri Exhibition Center, the permanent sculptures on the roundabouts, in the parks, and in the squares (such as the “designer benches” in Piazza Garibaldi) and the Wall of Baj along the railway. Two exhibition centers complete the arts offer: the PALP exhibition center in Palazzo Pretorio, where the most important exhibitions are held, and the Sete Sois Sete Luas Center near the Piaggio Museum.
Theater season is also important: the Era Theater is known in Italy and abroad for its experimental production.
The surroundings are worth a visit: the hamlets of Treggiaia and Montecastello (Villa Torrigiani Malaspina Park) or La Rotta with the museum of brick makers, recovering the tradition of furnaces that until the 19th century produced bricks using the clayey sands of the rivers.
The map of the town’s hiking network includes trails located in Pontedera and its surroundings, which can be traveled on foot, by bike or on horseback.