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Abetone was named after an enormous fir tree that was so large that six people with their arms extended could not embrace it. This tree was felled in the 17th century to make way for the road to Modena. Previously, the region was known as Boscolungo, a name that today belongs to one of the local districts. Historically, the first houses of Abetone lined the Via Modenese, and the surrounding Apennine heights were used by those who wished to find ways through the mountains. Records of ancient ways exist, even from Roman times, through these mountains from North to South.
Even Hannibal used the tracks and by ways to pass into Etruria. Even if we cannot know exactly the route that this famous warrior took, a local tradition has identified the Hannibal's Pass as the High Val di Luce to the north-west of Abetone at 1798 metres Although the valleys in the Apennines have always been inhabited, the first project to make a road uniting Pistoia to the region of Emilia-Romagna in 1732 by the Granduke Gian Gastone dei Medici.
The area was bounded by the borders of the Duchy of Modena, the Republic of Lucca and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Its forests were used by fugitives of every kind, who found in the woods comfortable resting places and numerous escape routes. With the new road, hostels and workshops began to appear. Tracts of land were granted to groups of peasants who were expected to maintain the road, allowing the various centres of habitation to survive and prosper. The Unification of Italy was a watershed for Abetone when the abolition of the interegional borders led even to the abolition of the customs posts.
With the arrival of the railway in 1864 and the resulying decrease in road traffic, the road to Modena lost its importance as the main route between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. The beginning of the 20th century were certainly times of crisis and the local economy was reduced to forestry and charcoal burning. The first skier came to the place in 1904.
Tourists began to discover the possibilities of winter sports, among which were Giacomo Puccini, who built himself a villa here. However the first real sign of organised tourism was during the thirties when the engineer Lapo Farinati of the Uberti promoted the development of the valley of the Pozze (known today as Val di Luce), with a project of a great ski centre including hotels, slopes and lifts. During the Second World War the development of this ski centre was halted, and only lately the area has been used to its full effect. The slopes descend from Le Regine, Sestaione (1309 m) Passo della Selletta (1711 m) Passo della Fariola (1753 m), Passo di Annibale (1735 m) Monte Gomito (1892 m) and Faidello (1288 m).
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