Montecatini Val di Cecina and Volterra
Starting point of this itinerary is the Museo delle Miniere (Mines Museum) a fascinating and mysterious place that for centuries was worked by miners from Montecatini, exploiting the wealth of the copper reserves. From this point, 15 km along the provincial road you will reach Volterra, a town of great artistic and historic value, set in a truly unique landscape. Besides admiring the examples of Pisan Romanesque architecture, the Etruscan gateways of the town wall or the remains of the Roman theatre, you will be surprised by the morphological structure of the Volterra hill, with steep rock slopes and deep cracks called calanchi, that give the landscape its severe beauty.
Beriglione-Tatti Nature Reserve
Continuing south from Volterra for 13 km you will enter a nature reserve with a large network of paths. It is the Beriglione-Tatti Nature Reserve, where in the depths of its tangled Mediterranean shrubland live wolves, badgers, wild boar and martens, as well as a great number of birds of prey, such as hawks and sparrow hawks, that choose to nest in the heart of Tuscany. At the most southern end of the reserve it is worth stopping at the Masso delle Fanciulle, a charming stretch of the River Cecina where it is safe to swim. After a long and challenging walk, the sight of this oasis will tempt you to take a refreshing dip.
Rocca Sillana Fortress and Montecastelli Pisano
In the last part of the itinerary, before reaching the characteristic town of Montecastelli Pisano, you will cross the Valle del Pavone, the Peacock Valley, with its wild forests and outcrops of ophiolite rocks. In this landscape characterised by natural caves and old mines you will soon notice the hill with the Sillana Fortress on its summit: the steep climb will be amply rewarded by the magnificent view from the imposing twelfth century fortress. Just a few more kilometres and the itinerary ends in Montecastelli Pisano, a small town with 200 inhabitants where time seems to pass more slowly. Stone houses circle the Pannocchieschi Tower-Fortress and the Pieve of Santi Jacopo e Filippo, as if to defend them. Be sure not to miss the Buca delle Fate, with its sixth century BCE Etruscan tomb, only a short distance from Montecastelli Pisano.