The city of Pisa is world famous mainly thanks to the square Piazza dei Miracoli, but the city centre has much more to offer: several Romanesque churches, medieval houses, alleys and smaller, charming squares. Beginning from the middle ages, its […]
The city of Pisa is world famous mainly thanks to the square Piazza dei Miracoli, but the city centre has much more to offer: several Romanesque churches, medieval houses, alleys and smaller, charming squares.
Beginning from the middle ages, its richest era, the maritime republic expanded its boundaries from the hills until the sea.
The old republic is just the heart of a bigger district which includes the Pisa plain, Tuscany’s largest alluvial soil; this plain has grown bigger and bigger along the centuries thanks to the silts coming from the rivers Serchio and Arno, reaching the city of Pontedera.
The area seats two important old towns: Cascina and Vicopisano, important medieval military strongholds against the Florentine army.
On the coast we can find several smaller centres, like San Giuliano, Vecchiano, Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia, with a large beach protected by pine trees.
The local beach is characterized by big dunes (max. height 18 meters); the oldest ones can be found inside the nature reserve of San Rossore-Massaciuccoli, about three Km. far from Pisa.
This reserve covers the whole coast between Pisa and the Versilia. Beaches and Mediterranean scrub, pines, woods, rainy as well as cultivated land characterize this 24.000 hectare broad area. Since 1998 San Rossore has been the seat of important archaeological campaigns: 16 Roman ships have been accidentally found in the ground during a digging by the railway station.
This extraordinary discovery transformed the whole area into one of the most famous archaeological site of Italy.
The local mountain between Pisa and Lucca is called Monte Pisano. This is the place, most of materials for these Roman ships came from; today it is completely covered with olive trees, and it’s therefore famous for olive oil production in Tuscany. Several smaller streams rise from this mountain, and they are all well known thanks to their curative properties: the thermal baths by San Giuliano terme have been famous since the ancient times, and famous poets like Byron and Shelley used to come here to follow a treatment.
The old aqueduct which supplied Pisa with water coming from the mountains Monte Bianco and delle Fate has been recently restored by the municipality. This water was taken into a reservoir in Aciano (between San Giuliano Terme and Calci), and today it still supplies small fountains in different city squares: Piazza dei Cavalieri, by St. Francis’ church and by the Cathedral.
The vineyards on the hills produce grapes for famous wines: in Chianti, Crespina and in other villages it’s the white wine San Topè, while in the south we find a famous DOC red and white wine, the Montescudaio.
Six towns belong to the nature park Alta Valdera: Capannoli, Chianni, Lajatico, Palaia , Peccioli, and Terricciola. These places are famous for IGT wine production too, but natural excursions and cycling trips play an important role as well.
The area between Volterra and the valley Val di Cecina is rich in clay, the well-known Volterra clay. Another typical local landscape is given by the so called “Balze”, small hills surrounded by slopes subject to land slides.
The whole area was already well known during the Etruscan times: thanks to copper deposits they started the typical local production of alabaster, still a flagship for this town.
Etruscans and Romans left many interesting archaeological sites, amongst them the Acropolis Pian di castelo and the Etruscan necropolis.
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