Peccioli stands on the hills with its distinctive bell tower of the Parish of St. Verano (sec. XI), with valuable works of the Pisan school.

Nearby, the Praetorian Palace houses the Museum of Russian Icons, dedicated to the journalist Francesco Bigazzi, who gave to Peccioli his collection of icons of the nineteenth and early twentieth century; It is located near the International School and the Laboratory of icons.

Peccioli houses a museum area which includes the Archaeological Museum (with the recent finds of Etruscan Ortaglia Sanctuary), the Collection Etchings and Lithographs Museum, the Bell Tower and the Museum of Sacred Art.

For children, there is a Prehistoric Park with reconstructions of life-size fiberglass dinosaurs.

Nearby, among vineyards and olive groves they are scattered many hamlets like former castle and ancient church of Factory; Libbiano with its astronomical observatory named to Galileo Galilei; Legoli, with a tabernacle of Benozzo Gozzoli in the Chapel of Santa Caterina.

Among the main events: in July, the “11 Moons” theater festival; October 25, the Feast of the Patron Saint Verano; in October, the Feast of St. Columba and the “Coppa Sabatini” cycle race.

Peccioli has been awarded with the orange flag of the Touring Club, mark of quality and environmental tourism.

The Tabernacle of Legoli


The Tabernacle of Benozzo Gozzoli (disciple of Beato Angelico, which was also co-worker) is located at the chapel of St. Catherine in Legoli, where the artist lived from May 1479 to January 1480 to escape the plague in Pisa.

Most probably, during this stay he performed the majestic tabernacle still placed at the entrance of the village, painted in the summer of 1479; according to historians, this is the most touching of his minor works, despite the poor state of preservation.

For centuries it has been exposed directly to the elements and only in 1822 was erected a small chapel to protect it.

The theme of tabernacle is death, linked to the plague that was claiming many victims; the suffering and the pain caused by the disease are found in the of St. Sebastian wounds and the incredulity of St Thomas touching the wound of Jesus Christ.

A possible remedy is a move away from evil exemplified, one hand, by holy miracle worker Sebastiano, and on the other hand, by the archangel Michael slaying the dragon, so the evil, the death and the disease.

Tours are free every day at 16.30 for up to 15 people.


The first historical mention of Bientina, some say from the Latin “bis antes” (two hedges), dates back to 793 AD.

Of ancient medieval origin, we can see ruins of walls with some towers. The village has notable buildings and monuments such as the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, where are the remains of the patron San Valentino Martire, the Museum of Sacred Art, the Etruscan Museum and the Church of San Girolamo, with a permanent exhibition about the ancient history of the area.

Of great natural interest is the oasis of Tanali, located on the western side of the Marshes of Bientina, at the slopes of Monti Pisani, which covers about 153 hectares with meadows and wet forests periodically flooded.

In Bientina interesting events take place such as the traditional antiques market in Piazza dei Borghi, every fourth weekend of the month; the Festival of San Valentino Martire on Pentecost Sunday; the “Luglio Bientinese” with various night performances; The Palio of the third Sunday of July in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, and, the evening before it, the historical costume parade.

The San Girolamo Etruscan Museum 

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The ancient lake Sextum was among the largest in Tuscany and on its banks probably lived populations of Etruscan origin whose relics – found just in the lake – are currently collected in the Etruscan Museum, located in the old church of St. Jerome, dating from the ‘600, today desecrated and turned into museum.

The museum, opened in 1999, contains artifacts collected over the last 60 years in the area of ​​the ancient Lake Sextum and now called “marsh of Bientina”.

These exhibits consist of materials from archaic Villanovan village (X-XI sec. A. C.), ceramics from last Bronze and Iron ages, the remains of an Etruscan house of the sixth century B.C., with black ceramics (buccheri) and red paint, ceramics of common use, parts of necklaces, brooches, pins, earrings and funeral ornaments of a tomb found during the drainage of the marshes.

The museum is open every Sunday morning from 10:00 to 12:00, except August, or by appointment.


In the middle of the fertile plain of the Pisa Arno Valley is Calcinaia, a lively and active town, full of industries and handicrafts.

The name refers to the traditional craft of the ceramics processing and to the numerous lime kilns active until the sixties, but, built in medieval age, before 1000, it was once called Vico Vitri, from the name given to the village for processing vitrified crockery.

The district is a key transit point in the road network of the province of Pisa, as well as in ancient times was an important junction for traffic control of river Arno.

The great bend of the Arno river is one of the most important venues for national and international sport fishing.

Shows and events include: the Festival of Weddle, third Sunday of May, celebrating the typical “calcinaiolo” cake; the Historical Regatta on the River Arno in honor of the patron Santa Ubaldesca Taccini, which takes place from 800 since the last Sunday of May or first of June, preceded the night before by the party “Relive the Past” with attractions, games and live paintings.

The Coccapani Fournace

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The furnace belonging to the Coccapani family was placed here in 1768 when one of the members of the family, Lodovico, was forced to leave the Montecchio furnace because of the ongoing conflict with the Carthusian monks from the Carthusian farm, the owners of the artisan workshop.

The Coccapani palace in Calcinaia was therefore transformed into a workshop producing ceramics with the construction of the first vertical furnace, standing against the building’s main wall.

The activity of the furnace became so important for Calcinaia that in the nineteenth century it was the most important artisan activity in the town. The furnace continued to be used until the early 1960s, when it was abandoned and the structure was partially converted into a private house.

The rooms of the workshop have since been restored and converted into a museum.


Capannoli, medieval village, is located on the slope of a hill that overlooks the valley of the river Era.

In a position of great importance in ancient times, it was first developed as a fortified village, then as a center dedicated to trade and economic.

In the background the landscape of the Pisan hills, characterized by intensive farming with vineyards, olive groves and orchards, is full of itineraries for byking, hiking and horseback.

On top of the hill called “the castle”, where once stood the fortress, there is Villa Baciocchi, building in late baroque and neoclassical style with a botanical garden where you can find 160 different types of exotic and ancient plants.

The villa includes a Zoological Museum and an interesting Archaeological Documentation Exhibition Centre about the history of the area from prehistory to the Middle Ages, with a section dedicated to Etruscan finds from the necropolis of the territory; inside the park, the second Sunday of September, there is the traditional National Bird Fair.

The village of Santo Pietro Belvedere is also important, that today still shows the urban structure of the medieval castle village.

Villa Baciocchi

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Villa Baciocchi is an eighteenth century mansion located in the center of Capannoli.

Built by the family Bourbon del Monte Santa Marina (one of the most important families of the Medici principality), the neoclassical villa stands where once stood the castle that belonged to the Gherardesca.

In 1833 it was bought by the Baiocchi Family (there are portraits of Count Felice Baciocchi and his wife Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, in the murals found in some rooms); Today it is owned by the municipality.

The park next the house was designed in the second half of the nineteenth century by Luigi Bellincioni who designed the garden adding “rustic” caves and neo-Gothic buildings. This admirable “green” space include 12 monumental trees among which stands a Canadian sequoia and more than 160 other species from various areas.

The interior of the villa houses the Archaeological Museum, and, since 1997, the civic zoo museum: the first, preserved pottery, coins, stone elements and “Neolithic materials” found in the area of ​​Pontedera; the second, exposes 330 stuffed animals from all over the world.


Casale Marittimo rises on a hill overlooking the valley of the river Cecina, just 12 Km from the sea. From the top are also visible islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.

Around the village you can admire a country that richly produce cereals, oil, honey and a fine wine, the “Montescudaio DOC”.

Nearby the village, recent archaeological excavations discovered the remains of an Etruscan village of the seventh century BC, in addition to the necropolis of Casa Nocera, a group of tombs of Etruscan princes-warrior.

The medieval village was founded in the year 1000 and the signs of its history are visible in the old center, remained intact, with its stone buildings, the Castle and the structure of subsequent walls.

Among the buildings of interest are Palazzo Rocca, the Church of Sant’Andrea, built on the remains of the old church, and the eighteenth-century Santa Maria delle Grazie.

As evidence of its environmental and touristic qualities, Casale Marittimo received the “orange flag” of the Italian Touring Club.

Among the various gastronomic events we report, in July, the traditional Feast of Snails and in August that of the wild boar.

The etruscan necropolis of Casa Nocera

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The Etruscan necropolis of Casale Marittimo preserves artifacts of great interest like tombs of the seventh and sixth centuries BC, whose valuable funeral artifacts of an important and rich ruling caste.

Very famous is the tholos tomb, dating from the fifth century BC, accidentally found in 1896 in Poggiarella area: it is a circular tomb with dromos (corridor) and Tholos (false dome) covered by a mound of soil.

In 1937 at “La Pieve and Poggio” area, were found the remains of two ancient Roman villas that testify the passage from the Etruscan period to the Roman period.

According to popular belief there were two castles in the area, “Casale Nuovo” and “Casale Vecchio”, although there are no archaeological discovery to confirm it.

From Casa Nocera come also two statues from the “Great Art” of the Etruscans, that is the art of large, currently exposed at the Archaeological Museum of Florence.

All the graves are “a fossa” (pit graves), except by one that is “a camera” (room grave), which probably contained the two statues that simbolyze the ancestors of the dead.

(photos by Giovanni Cantone)


Casciana Terme

Of Etruscan origin, located in a natural and charming environment, Casciana Terme is famous for the therapeutic properties of its thermal waters.

In a document of 1148 they placed emphasis for the first time to the healing properties of thermal waters, especially for skin diseases, and the first Spa was built by Federico da Montefeltro in 1311.

The water, which flows from the source at a temperature of 35.7°, is used to fight arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, today also for rehabilitation, vascular and breathing care.

The treatments, which include the use of thermal mud at 45°-50° and the bathroom in Roman bath at 36°, make Casciana a perfect place for relaxing holidays (worth mentioning the spa of Terme Villa Borri, the first “authentic” beauty farm).

Very close to Casciana Terme are worth a visit the ancient villages of Parlascio, Ceppato, San Martino in Colle, Sant’Ermo and Gello Mattaccino; in Collemontanino, a legend says the castle was home to the Countess Matilde di Canossa, one of the most important person of the Italian Middle Ages, and that his sick blackbird flew to a source of water regaining health, so began the history of Casciana and its baths.


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The village of Lari, already inhabited in Etruscan times, is characterized by the massive Castle of the Vicars, of medieval although the present structure dates from the seventeenth century; once used as a prison and court, it was reopened to visitors in 1991.

The building houses the Museum Filippo Baldinucci, with Etruscan and Roman remains, glazed earthenware and Renaissance frescoes; open to visits, the Hall of torture, prisons and underground, which according to legend, are still haunted by the ghost of the Rosso della Paola, here imprisoned for his political beliefs.

Nearby of Lari, a grid of roads and trails allows you to discover interesting landscapes and villages of ancient origin like Casciana Alta, Usigliano, Cevoli, Lavaiano and Perignano, where you can see mansions and churches with valuable artistic exhibits.

Lari, that deserved the orange flag of the Touring Club for environment and tourism, is also famous for its cherries and the traditional cherries festival at the end of May.



Located along the right side of the Arno river, near the Pisan Mountains, Cascina is an ancient fortified town, once agricultural, then mainly commercial, that at the end of 1800 has quickly developed around woodworking, so that it now considered one of the most important manufacturing center of Italian furniture.

Laboratories and furniture factory throughout the town and adjoining area together with an Art Institute with a focus in the art of wood, confirm ​​the vibrant craft busyness in furniture and furnishing.

The Permanent Exhibition of Furniture, established in 1922 by the Workers’ Association, houses the “Museum of Arts and Crafts of Wood”, collecting objects, tools and machines used in laboratories and workshops.

Among the remains of the medieval town are reported the Pieve of Santa Maria dell’Assunta and San Giovanni as well as the thirteenth-century walls, still partially preserved even with following reconstruction.

Among the events, the traditional Mercantico, every first Sunday of the month, during which you can admire antiques and local arts and crafts.

The Pievi

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Near the center of the medieval wall, we find the church of Santa Maria Assunta and St. John the Evangelist dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It presents a gabled faCade divided into two parts made of verrucano blocks. Linked with the church we find the chapel of the Sacrament in the late baroque style, with inside a late 600 painting by lucchese school representing St. Catherine of Siena who assist the sick.

In San Casciano is situated the parish of Saints Ippolito and Cassiano, renewed in the twelfth century above a pre-existing temple; of pisan and romanesque style, has richly decorated sculptures of famous master Biduino, and a considerable glazed terracotta by school of Della Robbia portraying the baptism of Christ.

The single nave without apse church of St. Lawrence Martyr in San Lorenzo alle Courti has two reproductions of an ancient inscription on the front door, which attributed the building of the first temple (with same name) in pisan 1046 (1045); the gift of a tooth of St. Lawrence martyr relic is remembered in an inscription now walled in the interior of the church, on the left wall below the choir.


Castelfranco di Sotto is a typically medieval village, made castle in the middle of the thirteenth century (1255).

The village, surrounded then by imposing walls with sixteen towers, still retains the typical “roman castrese” structure, with two main roads that cross the center and leading to the four doors bordering districts with equal measures.

The four gates of the castle, square-shaped and made entirely of brick, were facing the old cores, towards the four cardinal points.

In the second half of the thirteenth and the first decades of the fourteenth century, famous leaders Ghibellines as Count Guido Novello, Uguccione Faggiola and Castruccio Castracani, they used to fight around here.

The Collegiate Church of Saints Peter and Paul, the main church of Castelfranco, preserves a wooden crucifix from the fifteenth century, two wooden statues of the Annunciation attributed to the sculptor Nino Pisano, and the San Pietro marble.

Other monuments of historical and artistic interest are the church of San Lorenzo Martire and the Villa Campanile, dating from the eighteenth century.

Via Francigena – Orentano – Villa Campanile

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The territory of Castelfranco di Sotto, on the border between Pisa and Florence, is passed trough the Via Francigena, a sort of the medieval highway, described in 990-994 by Archbishop Sigerico in his diary, that tell the journey from Canterbury to Rome to receive an high honor.

Part of the route, from the town of Galleno until the town Chimenti, is still well preserved with the original pavement which composed the the road.

The City is part of the European Association of the Via Francigena.

Thereabout, you can find the “natural commercial area” of the villages of Orentano and Villa Campanile.

Orentano is already mentioned in the 849; with the plague, the village, in early 1300, it suffered a serious depopulation until mid-1500 when it began the economic recovery; the  bell tower is beautiful, inspired by the Giotto’s bell tower in Florence, whose structure was inaugurated, after thirty years of work, in 1907.

At Villa Campanile, named as the residence of a prominent landowner, you can find the traditional festival of the Farmer in the summer.


Castellina Marittima is located in a typical tuscan scenario: hills with olive trees, grapes and wheat, rows of cypress trees and Mediterranean vegetation, natural habitat of wild boars and other wild animals.

Among the monuments there is the eighteenth-century Church of St. John the Baptist, in which are still visible two alabaster columns that were part of the ancient altar.

The extraction of alabaster has marked the history of Castellina, from which the Ecomuseum route, that also includes the municipalities of Santa Luce and Volterra, telling the importance of alabaster in this part of Tuscany.

The district offers a network of greenways ideal for walking and cycling lovers; in an old quarry outside the village there is a field for training and practice of archery.

Among the events, in August we report MW Festival, which hosts national and international bands, and the Sagra della Cucina Povera, with specialties that reproduce traditional recipes.

Ecomuseum of alabaster

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The Ecomuseum of alabaster is part of an eco-museum dedicated to the history of the extraction and processing of alabaster in the territory of Castellina Marittima, Santa Luce and Volterra.

Its function is to rediscover, revival and promote the ancient activities and civilizations; the activities of excavation, processing and marketing of alabaster beginning of the Etruscans, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance until today.

The Ecomuseum study, preserve, evaluate and promote the collective memory of the “alabaster area” operating with the population in the process of knowledge and use of the territory, as guardian of his memory, seems like a bridge between past and present.

The system is organized through specialized itineraries related to the excavation, processing and marketing, as well as a Central Point Museum in Castellina Marittima (Palazzo dell’Opera Pia in the past), set up to represent the visit to the quarry, with historical papers and some instruments related to the work of alabaster.


Castelnuovo Val di Cecina is a typical medieval village with views of the valley from a height of 600 meters above sea level; we report the sacred places of the parish church with a beautiful crucifix of ‘300, fine example of Pisan sculptor school, the oratory of San Rocco and the church of the village.

The local economy was related with the chestnut for centuries, even though, during the last century, they begun to exploit geothermal energy to produce electricity and district heating.

Suggestive nature trails reach places of historical interest such as the bridge over the river Pavone, or viewpoint from which to admire the Valley of Cornia and the Gulf of Piombino.

Other points of interest are represented in Montecastelli Pisano from Buca delle Fate, an Etruscan hypogeum of the sixth century BC, and the remains of copper mines, inactive since 1941; in Sasso Pisano, in the itinerary of the fumaroles and the sacred complex spa of Bagnone, dating from the third century BC, which still spring water with a temperature between 40 and 70 degrees.

Among recurring events: in June, the Alta Val di Cecina rally, and in the third weekend of October, Castagnalandia, starring chestnuts, symbol of Castelnuovo.

Sasso Pisano

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The ancient village of Sasso Pisano, near the pretty village of Leccia, is placed on a boulder near the headwaters of the river Cornia.

There are the ruins of an ancient Etruscan thermal baths and impressive natural phenomena of putizze (cold gas fumes) and fumaroles (gaseous emissions accompanied by steam) that make the landscape fantastic and mysterious, also visible through a trail.

Fumaroles and putizze are an example of the natural geothermal and show how was the landscape of the “Valley of the Devil” before the establishment of industrial activities that channeled steam underground, for the production of green electricity and renewable.

Easily accessible, for a quick visit, the geothermal manifestations and the small park Erga Lagoni village, near which there is the small chapel built in 1958 by Giovanni Michelucci, one of the greatest Italian architects of the twentieth century.

(photos by Giovanni Cantone)