The Terre di Pisa, for its climate and terrain among the most heterogeneous territories in Tuscany, are characterized by a diversified and innovative viticulture that from the rugged Balze volterrane reaches almost to the sea, in a succession of hills and vineyards whose main grape variety, bottled in purity or accompanied by native vines, is Sangiovese.
Recently established is the Consortium for the protection of wines from the “Terre di Pisa”, with rules (a disciplinary of the DOC) and a promotional-commercial strategy for a territory with a potential to be exploited on international markets . At the moment there are 14 companies scattered in an area that goes from the Pisan Hills and reaches San Miniato, crossing the Valdera.
The itinerary touches places of relevance, not only enological or gastronomic, but also historical-artistic and naturalistic, as they are inserted in a typical postcard landscape of Tuscany.
First stop Fauglia, a quiet rural village in the Pisan Hills, with a small theater and the Kienerk Museum for painting and Macchiaioli fans. In the hills outside the country, where the beneficial influence of the sea is felt and the Mediterranean climate ensures ideal conditions for viticulture, is located the company I Giusti e Zanza. The organic and biodynamic farm management does not use chemical fertilizers. The company offers guided tours in the vineyard and wine tastings in the cellar accompanied by cold cuts and cheeses from the area.
Second stop Terricciola, city of wine excellence and therefore an essential stopover for wine lovers or simple enthusiasts.
A walk in the village allows you to appreciate the authentic nature of the rural village and the remarkable beauty of the surrounding landscape that extends up to Volterra. Here we stop off at five companies, each with different characteristics but always based on quality.
Badia di Morrona is a company with many faces: 600 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and woods, with farmhouses.. Cellar and oil mill are available for guided tours and tastings with local products. Do not miss the gem of the Badia, an ancient medieval abbey surrounded by a park, a suitable location for events and weddings and visited by appointment.
The family-run Castelvecchio farm produces wines of various types using organic methods. It is possible to visit the company (which is also an agriturismo) and enjoy a moment of relaxation, sipping a glass of excellent wine and learning about a part of Tuscan traditions and culture. The structure is also available to host events and ceremonies.
La Spinetta Casanova is instead owned by the Piedmontese Rivetti family, which landed in this part of Tuscany in 2001 to produce high-quality red wines using autochthonous varieties. The company has spaces for weddings, meetings and events. Cellar visits with wine tasting in the presence of an oenologist who explains the various steps of production, from harvest to bottling.
Podere La Chiesa produces wines mainly with Sangiovese grapes, practicing rigorous natural viticulture. The new winery is a work of modern architecture that overlooks the Casanova valley, a natural amphitheater completely dedicated to the cultivation of vines. The cellar, open to visitors, also hosts presentations of art exhibitions, cultural and musical performances throughout the year.
Fattoria Fibbiano is an agriturismo and farm with a cellar. In the tasting room, the old farm vats are exhibited. On its land remains of Etruscan settlements have been found that refer to the legend of the “Fonte delle Donne”, a mysterious source of water with healing powers. The company, also a wine bar, organizes guided tastings and tours for individuals and groups.
We leave Terricciola and head for Peccioli, which welcomes us with the unmistakable profile of the bell tower of the Pieve di San Verano. The historic center, also accessible by lift, is characterized by “chiassi”, narrow streets that also open up against the backdrop of the hilly landscape, and contemporary art installations. Peccioli boasts a museum complex composed of the Museum of Palazzo Pretorio, the Museum of Sacred Art, and the Archaeological Museum. For families with children there is also an urban adventure park and a prehistoric park.
There are two wineries with a cellar:
The farmhouse Le Palaie, which boasts a modern design cellar with a panoramic view over the hills. It has spaces suitable for hosting events and weddings, as well as wine tastings. Tinaia and barriccaia host a permanent exhibition of sculpture and painting.
The Tenuta di Ghizzano, one of the oldest farms in the area and also one of the most innovative: visit to the historic cellars, wine and olive oil tastings, visit to the characteristic Italian Garden (“Giardino Sonoro”) with summer shows
A short distance away is the pretty medieval village of Palaia, which offers a territory full of surprises: starting from the Romanesque parish church of San Martino, a wedding venue and much appreciated by choirs for its acoustics; in Montefoscoli the mysterious Temple of Minerva Medica rich in symbols esoteric and Masonic that seems to have inspired Mary Shelley, and the Museum of Labour Rural Civilization that values the traditions of past generations, ending with the intriguing ghost towns of Toiano (with views of the “calanchi”).
Near this abandoned village is the Villa Saletta company, formerly owned by the Riccardi family (Medici bankers). The recovery of agricultural activities, especially of the vineyards, has propelled the company to the forefront in the production of quality wines. Villa Saletta offers hospitality in ancient restored farmhouses. The estate is open to visits with guided wine tastings.
Last stop Usiglian del Vescovo, which owes its name to the medieval dispute between the Bishops of Pisa and Lucca. The estate extends over very ancient lands rich in marine fossils. Not surprisingly, visits with wine tastings also include fossil or truffle hunting. The company has kept the barrique cellar and the boardroom in medieval buildings, where there is an underground tunnel that served as an escape route.
The itinerary continues towards San Miniato, the place par excellence of the white truffle. but also appreciated for wine, so much so that here the Vignaioli Association was formed, which includes companies that mainly produce wine, but also olive oil. The terroir is home to various native grapes, all with their own history among which, due to its rarity in Italy, there is the presence of the tempranillo grape, which seems to have its origins in the journeys of pilgrims on the Via Francigena, which in the Middle Ages passed from these set off.
San Miniato is a small jewel with a historical and artistic heritage that can be visited thanks to the Museum System, a network of exhibition poles joined together in a journey that involves the city and allows us to appreciate not only the wealth of art collections, cultural institutions, civil and religious buildings, but also the urban structure and the landscape.