Meet Oriano and Pina from Pieve di Monti di Villa

We met 2 of Pieve di Monti di Villa’s hundred or so inhabitants when we were trying to raid a cherry tree on the side of the road.



Oriano appeared and with his trusty umbrella he pulled a branch down for us.


Soon his wife Pina joined us and told us a little about their pretty village. Oriano was born in the village and Pina was born in Genova. She was sent to Pieve as a child during the war. She found Genova a little noisy when she went back and eventually settled in the village and met Oriano.


Many of the residents moved away to America, Australia and Canada in tough times in the 20th century. People are slowly coming back to enjoy the peaceful mountain life.

Come for a walk through the village to see why.






The church dedicated to St Julia was built in the 12th century, rebuilt in 1446 and remodelled between 1760 and 1766. Only the apse belongs to the original structure.

The narrow streets wind slowly down the side of the mountain.






There are some lovely old doorways.







And some interesting locking devices.


Things grow well in Pieve.








There are lovely details.






There is a pretty bar, which wasn’t open the afternoon we were there. Another visit is needed.


We spotted a small resident out for a walk.


Wandering through the villages of Bagni di Lucca is delightful…especially when you get to meet lovely people like Oriano and Pina.

In every village I have been to I have met people who have been happy to stop and have a chat. Don’t be afraid to say Buongiorno, you never know where it may lead.

60 thoughts on “Meet Oriano and Pina from Pieve di Monti di Villa

  1. I have some wonderfull memories of visiting friends in Pieve ,mainly with the Oliano family,my treasured memory was a visit to Oriano and Pina where we tasted the new wine in the company of Giovanni Giambastiani, Gerolimo Piere ,both originaly from Pieve along with Oriana and Pina it was a joy to listen to the stories of the experiances and unfortunatey the hardships endured in the area during the war years.

    • There are lots of stories in these little villages. Life must have been very difficult during and after the war years. I was a big loss for Italy when people left, but lucky for countries like Australia where our lives have been made richer by their arrival.

  2. The world has indeed become very small. Oriano and Pina are my family’s lifelong friends and this is the town of my father, Girolamo Pieri’s, birth. My heart is pounding as I look at each picture, each spot holding a special memory. Debra, I believe you were right by our home when you picked cherries and I am just sad that we are not yet there. Thankfully, we’ll be there in time to enjoy the plums and figs.
    Thank you for taking the time to visit this wonderful little town. It has many special memories for me. My father was born there, left after the war, lived his life in the US but gave me the love of Italy as his very special gift.

    • I hope they weren’t your cherries we were picking!!!! There are trees everywhere covered in them and they all look so good. The figs are growing like mad for you. I hope we get to meet here one day.

  3. These are such enchanting villages. Every corner must draw you on to see what comes next and such beautiful flowers. I laughed out loud at the cat in the vico pincellorum post – what a priceless photo! My grandmother who lived in an English seaside town in Kent had a canvas door curtain which would be deployed to stop the English summer sun frizzling the front door – I can still remember the smell of the sun hot canvas.

  4. Debra,
    I hope they were our cherries. Hate to think of them going to waste. Pina will eventually make jam with what is left. She will give us some for our morning toast while we are there.
    I’m wondering about the church being dedicated to S. Julia. I have always known it as
    S. Giovanni, dedicated to John the Baptist. As a matter of fact, there will soon be a grand feast in the village on the feastday of St. John.
    Your blog has caused me to rethink my plans and perhaps arrive sooner! Thank you.

    • I took the information from the sign in front of the church, but you could be right. Perhaps we can ask someone for some more information. Come over now, it’s lovely.

  5. So tempted to do a ticket exhange. My father and Giovanni Giambiastiani, mentioned above, did a big fundraising campaign and raised enough to restore the campanile of that church through the donations of people around the world who left that village when conditions were very different than they are now. A big feast in the village should be coming up for the feast of S. Giovanni, their church. I’ll have to investigate further to see where S. Giulia comes into it.
    THank you so much for doing this, Debra. It means the world to me to see this blog from half way around the world.

  6. When I was a young person many of the young people of BDL had no idea these villages even existed. The lure was to head outward toward the cities and the seaside. Having experienced life at a much more frenetic pace, many of those now “not so young” people have come appreciate the rich and full life of the quiet countryside and the ancient farm homes of their ancestors.

  7. Debra
    Fantastic photos. We have been back in Australia a little more than two weeks. Your recent posts showing many of the things we saw whilst in Bagni di Lucca make us want to be back there…now!

  8. Wonderful photos of my ancestral hometown! Has anyone been inside the church at Pieve. I have been trying to find pictures and information of the inside with no success. My family is descended from Alberto Ricci and Delitta Bertolani. Their daughter Argentina was my great-great-grandmother — she married Constantino Gabrielli in 1913 and moved to Cleveland, Ohio – she had three brothers: Orlando, Oreste, and Cesare. I had a few uncles, aunts, and cousins meet Pina and Oriano in Pieve. I have been trying to discover anything I can about the town. I am also an European historian and would like to travel there someday and research the local history from early times through the Second World War. If anyone can help me with genealogy or stories from the town, I would be very grateful.

    Sean Kennedy

    • I am returning to Australia in a couple of days or I would go up to the village and try to get some photos of the interior for you. I will email D Kosmalski (see comments) for you and ask if she knows anything and give her your email address. I think she will be visiting Pieve soon.

  9. What wonderful connections are made with this blog. Thank you Debra! I emailed Sean. Would love to help if I can.

  10. Sean, I emailed you. Not sure if you received it.
    Wish I could be in La Pieve for La Festa di San Giovanni. It’s such a wonderful event.

  11. Diane;
    We were corresponding at one time ,then lost contact with each other.
    My wife ,Mary and I have visited many times. Pina is a second ? cousin to me . Her daughter ,Laura has a gorgeous place in Bagni di Lucca.
    John Simonetti

  12. John,
    I just mentioned you and Mary in my email to Sean. I’m sorry I lost touch. I hope all is well. Yes, Pina and Oriano’s daughter have the beautiful Agriturismo La Torre in Fornoli.
    We’ll be returning to Italy soon. I’ll email you with news of La Pieve and your dear cousin.
    Saluti cari,

  13. Diane: My entire family has just returned from visiting the Pieve on July 22nd. Pina is a distant cousin of mine..The Pieve was the highlight of our Italy trip for all 20 of us,ranging from 81 to8.Everyone wants to return..Ron Simonetti

    • Ron, sorry we missed the chance to meet you and your family. Now that was a real family trip. I trust you are related to John and Mary. Hope we can talk more when I have a better internet connection. Diane

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  15. My boyfriend and I have just come back from a week in Pieve. We had a wonderful time exploring the villages and trails around the area. At night we saw bats and fireflies and we were treated to a dawn symphony every morning at 5 a.m. We went to Bar Panuccio one night. It is owned by Oriano and Pina. We sat on a bench outside the bar, sipping wine and looking out over the rolling Tuscan hills. Lovely memories to hold on to!

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  17. I was doing a search for the Pieve dei Monti di Villa, as it is location where my great, great grandparents met and were married, and where the homestead still remains I am told. I was so thrilled to come across these beautiful pictures from this same place. Thank you so much for sharing this for all of us to behold. I hope someday I can visit and enjoy the beauty and history of this place in person.

    • Robin, my family name is Pieri and my family was from Pieve. We are here now from the US. Maybe we’re related? Pieri is a pretty common name in this area but one never knows. Hope you get to visit one day. It’s lovely here!

  18. Robin & I are brother and sister, maybe we can get the rest of the family together for a reunion trip? Bush up on your Italian! Years ago I use to have dreams Pieve di Monti di Villa before I had ever seen any photos of the area.

    • Dreams can come true! Count me in for that reunion! We just got back a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to return. I’m first generation American but I was blessed to have a father who took me to visit his homeland when I was a child and I’ve been returning ever since….MANY years. Let me know when we can have that Pieri reunion! I’ll bring the Prosecco and the figs!

  19. Oriano is my grandfather Noe’s nephew. My father visited Pieve di Monti di Villa a few times and a cousin of mine has made quite a number of trips there. Unfortunately I never have though I look it up online often. These 2012 photos are the most recent I’ve seen on my kinfolk and I thank you for them. I know the name Pieri from my father talking about our relatives. And Simonetti contacted me once to exchange stories. Thank you for this. Ciao.

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