The municipality of Cecina, with its population of about 26,000 inhabitants, is one of the biggest towns in Livorno. Cecina has always been a flourishing centre rising on the banks of its homonymous river and it shows its rich past through its villas: the Roman villa of San Vincenzino and the XVIII-century villa of Cinquantina.
The valley of the river Cecina has always been a productive centre since the Paleolithic and the Mousterian when the first iron activities that later developed in the Iron Age throve. The economic potential of the area set between the most important mining centres and the Tyrrhenian coast automatically attracted the Etruscans. They inherited the territories of the ancient Villanovan civilization and founded numerous centres of connection between Populonia and Volterra in the valley. The latter was a point of reference in the Val di Cecina in the following centuries.
Since the II century B.C., the Romans started to spread their authority in Etruria, an area with a consolidated agricultural and commercial economy. The exploitation of mineral resources, which the Romans were scarcely interested to, decayed when this new civilization arrived, while agriculture was further developed. This is why Villa San Vincenzino, which was presumably the residence of some Roman latifundist, was built. This construction was inhabited until the IV century A.D. and it still keeps most of its ancient architecture. The villa gives a quite remarkable example of hydraulic plant for the collection of rainwater and it is characterized by the presence of a thermal area and its storage tank has been perfectly preserved.
In the Middle Ages, Cecina was still a scarcely inhabited farm where the towns of Riparbella and Bibbona exercised their dominion under the aegis of the Republic of Pisa. In 1338, the town of the tower built the first bridge to cross the river and it existed until the XVI century. In the Middle Ages, the depopulation of the coastal areas occurred caused by paludification and malaria. The Val di Cecina became one of the places where Christianity spread, first, and later also the Benedictine monasticism. In the same period the first fortresses and castles started to rise but the area of the modern town does not have meaningful buildings.