The well-served village of Stiava is a part of Massarosa and was more populated than its big sister until a few decades ago. Located in a natural bowl in the hills just a few minutes from seaside Viareggio, Stiava enjoys a mild climate in a protected setting, where fruits, flowers, olives and grapes thrive.
The town's name is intriguing; it derives from "schiavi" (skee-AH-vee) meaning "slaves," referring to those conquered during the Roman period who performed labor for the empire. Indeed, the town has ancient roots. Part of its development was tied to the protected harboar below and the protected hill setting. During the Middle Ages it was a feudal territory of the Orlandi family.
An interesting feature of Stiava is the lavatoi, the large public wash basins that were used for laundry. The town was the laundry facility for the villas and hotels of Viareggio at the turn of the last century, and those wash basins are still intact. Ceramics retell the history in painted pictures, and an annual festa is dedicated to the historic lavatoi. Around town, there are all the services and shops you'll need: butcher, baker, gelato maker (!), along with groceries and more. Cafes and restaurants let you relax and dine well.
The church dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta was built in 1162. Villa Gori was a noble place, now a civic center with exhibitions and a lovely park. The Villa Borbone was once the hunting lodge of Lucca Carlo Lodovico. Outside town, the remains of a Roman bridge.
Stiava is close to Massarosa, and equidistant from hopping, seaside Viareggio.
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