Carlo Collodi wasn’t really from the Italian village of Collodi; his mother was. Florentine-born Carlo Lorenzini adopted the pen name Collodi when he began writing Pinocchio and other children’s stories.
That doesn’t stop little Collodi cashing in on the Pinocchio connection for all it’s worth.
The Parco di Pinocchio is certainly no Disneyland – a cafe, a maze, a small museum of Pinocchiana, some simple activities for young children and that’s it.
The sculpture along the winding paths is sometimes predictably kitsch, but in other cases surprisingly good.
Across the road, the gardens of the Villa Garzoni are a triumph of overblown tackiness.
By the ticket office are photos of celebrities who have visited and posed here – Deanna Dors, the Italian Nazionale football team of 1949, the contestants in Miss Universe 1958.
Closer inspection of the statuary shows it’s not particularly ancient, nor particularly well constructed. It’s fairly recent and is already starting to crumble.
But it is so charmingly, undeniably Italianate!
GETTING THERE: Collodi is about 15km north east of Lucca.
ENTRY: A combined ticket to the Parco di Pinocchio, Giardino Garzoni and the Butterfly House costs EUR20 (reductions for children).