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Peralta | The story of Peralta
1954
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About Peralta

The story – how it began

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Records of the hamlet of Peralta date back to the fourteenth century when Castruccio Castrecane, lord and protector of the province of Lucca from 1316 – 28, built one of his ‘castello’ on the brow of the hill above Peralta.   It is believed he built the stone dwellings that are now the hamlet of Peralta to house his soldiers, but there is no official record of this.

The foundations of the ‘castello’ can be seen a few hundred metres up the hill above Peralta.

Subsequently, there is no recognition of Peralta itself until the 20th century when we know it was inhabited by families managing to survive mainly on the produce from their olives, sheep and chestnuts. It was a very poor existence and in the mid 1950’s, when the western world was getting back on its feet after the second world war, the families saw the chance of making a better living elsewhere and abandoned their hillside houses and headed for a new life.

 

By 1967, when the sculptor Fiore de Henriquez first discovered Peralta , all the houses of Peralta had been abandoned except for two.   Fiore was staying at this time with American sculptor Jacques Lipchtiz and his wife Yulla in Pieve, further down the hill towards Camaiore.

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In those days, it was hard to get up the hillside to reach Peralta as there was no road and no obvious access.   A friend from Camaiore offered to take her up one day, using the footpaths that were at this time mainly used by sheep. (The next door hamlet of Agliano was also only accessible by footpath).

At least ten years of neglect had left most of the houses without roofs and windows, and in some cases even the floors had disintegrated.   Everything was overgrown with brambles and undergrowth and Fiore found only empty, falling down houses, except for two.

However, she immediately fell in love with the place and decided she just had to try and restore it.   It was an artist’s romantic vision and quite irresistible to a character such as Fiore.

The first house

IN PERALTA

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THE FIRST HOUSE

She bought the first house in 1967 and moved in in 1968.  A tiny house with one room up and one room down, lived in by a family of three.   It was the only one of two houses still inhabited and there was no electricity, no running water and terrible access.

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RESTORING PERALTA

Undaunted by the mammoth task that lay ahead, Fiore set about fixing the little house, and also slowly discovering who owned the other houses, contacting them and buying the houses. Some of the previous owners lived as far away as the U.S.

 

Thus began the long adventure of restoring Peralta to the beautiful place it is today.