Lajatico | Orciatico

Orciatico stands on a hill over 300 metres above sea level, opposite the Rocca di Pietracassia. A former castle, it has always followed the fate of nearby Lajatico.

The Rock and the Stone of 652

The historic core of Orciatico shows the characteristics of a medieval village with the stronghold at its epicentre, from whose tower one can appreciate a beautiful panorama stretching from the Valdera to the Monti Pisani.

During renovation work on the tower, a stone was found with the date 652 engraved on it, confirming its Longobard origins. The stone was placed on the main façade.

The Church of St Michael Archangel

One of the places worth visiting is the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, built in the 16th century in place of the older 13th-century parish church, of which only the portal remains. The single-nave ceiling has been embellished with paintings of the Four Evangelists. The interior preserves a Tronci organ, the main altar in pietra serena and an 18th-century wooden crucifix.

The mofeta in the forest

Near the forest – in the locality of Borboi – the presence of a mofeta, i.e. a pool of muddy water that emits carbon dioxide of geothermal origin, has been detected and is the subject of CNR studies. The mofeta is to be considered a natural treasure that is used by geologists to assess the consequences of an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The name derives from Mefita, the goddess who lived underground and to whom rural communities attributed the power to protect them from death by asphyxiation.

The windmills

About a 10-minute walk from Orciatico are the remains of two windmills: the first, dating from the 17th century, has been recovered and restored. From its location, it is possible to enjoy a panorama of woods, hills and a glimpse of the Rocca di Pietracassia.

The astronomical observatory

There is also a small astronomical observatory in Orciatico, in an area protected from light pollution. This condition makes it possible to observe stars up to the sixth visual magnitude.

Top image: ©LigaDue – Wikimedia Commons

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