Porticoes and small shops. Spring blooms that fill the air with colours and fragrances. Slow rhythms. Galeata is the pulsating heart of the River Bidente valley, it stands at the centre of a basin along the river. It is full of churches, medieval villages, abbeys, towers and remains of ancient Roman settlements.
Galeatea is integrated into the "Slow City" circuit for the quality of its products and the pursuit of a harmonious lifestyle. It has ancient prehistoric origins, as evidenced by the remains kept in the Mambrini Civic Museum of Pianetto, it preserves the Roman theatre and spas, which can be visited in the archaeological area of Mevaniola.
According to an ancient legend; in these lands there was an encounter between the hermit Ellero, who moved to the Apennines when he was 12 to the Galeata hermitage, and the King Theodoric of the Goths. An episode confirmed in a bas-relief from the eighth century, now kept in the civic museum, there are two distinct sites dating back to the same era: one is the 5th century Abbey, an important monastic centre founded by Sant’Ellero. The second is the sumptuous Roman villa considered the residence of Theodoric.
Named in the Middle Ages Burgus Galiate, the town preserves a rich archaeological, cultural, historical and artistic heritage. In the historic centre, crossed by the two paved streets called via Zannetti and via IV Novembre, there are typical workshops of Tuscan architecture, testimony to the long Florentine domination along with ancient palaces such as Palazzo Pretorio.
The main church, the church of St Peter, restored in Neo-Gothic style, dates back to the Middle Ages, while the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a jewel of Renaissance architecture, which houses paintings from the 16th and 18th centuries .
Of the ancient monastic complex that was founded by Sant'Ellero after having retired to ascetic life, today only the church with the Romanesque sandstone facade remains, while the crypt preserves the sarcophagus and the remains of the saint. Pilgrims traveling through the area often stop and ask for a special blessing to cure headaches.
From April to October, in the woods and mountain meadows, “stridolo” grows, a herb that owes its name to the particular sound that the leaves produces. The herb is also celebrated in a festival that animates the country with local dishes, like tortelli pasta.
The Horse and Foal Fair is the most important event in central-northern Italy dedicated to breeders, traders and lovers of the equestrian world. Each year at the end of October, the village is filled with equestrian shows, conferences, music and games. There is also a historical re-enactment dedicated to the encounter between Sant’Ellero and King Theodoric.