Amongst the most beautiful Tuscan and Italian cities, Pisa has glimpses of rare beauty, so that, as you move away, you often want to turn around to look again to look up at the tall top of the leaning tower, dominating one of the most beautiful corners in the world for its architectural content.
The extraordinary nature of Pisa and its territory has, not only priceless artistic treasures, a history that dates back to the times of the Maritime Republics, but also the charm of its hills, natural landscapes that merge with one of the most interesting historic towns of central Italy. It is perhaps Volterra the village that more than others has brought the name of the province to the world, but many other small centers in the area give the deepest essence of this corner of Tuscany. We leave the southern end of the city to head towards Cecina, along the last stretch of Genova-Rosignano motorway.
Cecina is a seaside and holiday resort, that represents a lively center of the coast. You cannot miss a promenade along the seafront overlooking the Tuscan archipelago. Then, have a break in one of the many promenade restaurants to taste a fish fried, accompanied with a good local white wine, maybe a Montescudaio DOC.
Only a few minutes and miles divides us from the delightful village of Casale Marittimo, located in the dominant position on the valley run by the Cecina river.
We will experience a country rich in vineyards, olive groves and grain crops. Inserted in the "Etruscan Coast Road", Casale Marittimo, which was prevuously a territry dominated by the counts of Gerardesca, offers a medieval village of great charm. Born around 1000, its old town is practically intact, characterized by the typical semicircular ring structure. Its beautiful stone buildings, including alleys, porticoes and staircases, among which are the ruins of the ancient castle. To see the church of Sant’Andrea, the eighteenth century chapel of Santa Maria delle Grazie and Palazzo Rocca.
The second stop of the weekend is in the heart of the Maremma Pisana in Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, an ancient center of perhaps Etruscan origin, immersed in the woods of chestnut trees, an important fortified medieval village of the Pisan republic.
There are several interesting sights including the Pieve di San Bartolomeo in Leccia, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Book, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, the piety of the Saints Jacopo and Philip, the oratory of San Rocco, the church of San Bartolomeo And the Chapel of Sant’Ottaviano.
You will be enchanted by the architectural homogeneity, narrow, tortuous pavements of stone, medieval gates and many facades, that offer panoramic views of the valley.
Wine, oil and chestnuts are the products of this corner of Pisan landscapes and many local specialties. In the area there is a taste of pappardelle with wild boar, or maybe a little pot of duck sauce.
A succession of hills and vineyards, woods and olive groves reappears to the north, to the plateau of Pisa. The poetry of the Maremma Pisana hills slowly fades away, while the leaning tower returns to dominate the Pisan plain.