Local identity developed around one clear calling: welcoming the stranger. More specifically, the weary pilgrim: Chiesina Uzzanese was a natural resting place, given its geographic location along the Tuscan stretch of the via Francigena, the famous pilgrimage road running to Rome from Canterbury, via France. Combining this flow with that of smaller routes, like the Cassia-Clodia, which connected Rome to Pistoia and Lucca, meant there were constant waves of tired wayfarers filing through town.
All this movement brought about the construction of the Xenodochio, the first must-see for any Chiesina Uzzanese visitor, even today, set in the town’s main square.
Xeno-what? Call it a hospitality center—a place that played a crucial role, blurring the lines between hostel, guest room and shelter. A small farmhouse-like structure, next door to a church in piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, it held a few cells on its first floor and a reception room on the ground floor. The latter was where churchwomen welcomed and assisted those in need for over three centuries.
To visit, you’ll need to make a reservation; contact the Culture office of the city administration.