Bread, breathtaking views and ancient crusaders

The hamlet of Casore del Monte is a natural terrace. From here it is possible to admire a 360-degree landscape over the surrounding plain. With particularly clear skies, Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence can be glimpsed. Best known for the production of bread baked in a wood-fired oven according to a particular tradition of the area. This village is also rich in history and curiosities all waiting to be discovered. The Bread Trail passes through Casore del Monte. 


Of Roman origin, the name of the hamlet of Casore is said to derive from the name of Casa. In the 12th century, during the disputes between Lucca and Pistoia, a small fortress was built, besieged in 1177 and then destroyed by the ranks of Lucca. But the actual castle of Casore was built in the early 13th century. All that remains visible of it is the town’s circular urban structure, with the watchtower (the present bell tower) in the center enclosed by a stone wall. Church and bell tower are still located in the highest part of the town, where the fortress stood, the last refuge in case of destruction of the town walls.

What to see

In this charming old village all the buildings converge on the Church of St. Bartholomew, with its welcoming portico and medieval bell tower. A few meters from the religious building there is also a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Walking through these narrow streets rich in history, one encounters ancient sundials placed on the facades of buildings. One of them is located right on the facade of the building that houses the house-museum of the Zetti Foundation (currently not open to the public). Casore was in fact chosen as a place to live by Italo Zetti, one of the most important painters and engraver-xylographers of the last century. A short walk then leads to the very old Oratory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, also known as the “Crusader’s Oratory” in the locality of Campore.

The legend of the Crusader's Oratory

Medieval history is breathed into this small country chapel. The Oratory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, known as the Oratory of the Crusader, is located south of Casore del Monte in the hamlet of Campore. Here a fellow, Oliviero Francescani, returning from the first crusade to the Holy Land in 1098, decided to build the Oratory here to thank Our Lady for getting him home safely. Although the building was rebuilt in 1859, the image of Our Lady from Corfu, which was brought here by the crusader himself, still stands inside. Two plaques inside the church then tell the whole story.

Church of St. Bartholomew

The church of San Bartolomeo, located in the highest part of the village, welcomes visitors with its ancient portico. Parts of the religious complex are in fact documented as early as the 13th century. Its perimeter traces that of the castle that stood here in medieval times. The interior of the church dates back to the 17th century and houses an ancient and prestigious pipe organ. The bell tower, on the other hand, is the oldest part of the whole building: it was the watchtower of the ancient medieval castle, which stood right where the church is now.