Terre di Pisa offer a wide range of walking, cycling and horse-riding itineraries. A special mention must be given to the itineraries that run through the Upper Cecina Valley, a vast green valley that extends from Montecatini Val di Cecina to Monteverdi Marittimo. Our focus will be on the most interesting itineraries and locations, such as the Balze di Volterra and the geothermal phenomena of Sasso Pisano, without overlooking the beautiful examples of architecture along the way. We suggest planning a trip by car or bike, to be able to stop at all the locations described, and walking only along certain paths, those that go through thick woodland.
Montecatini Val di Cecina and Volterra
Starting point of this itinerary is the Museo delle Miniere (Mine Museum) a fascinating place that for centuries was worked by miners from Montecatini, exploiting the wealth of the copper reserves. The complex tells a story of men whose industriousness and enterprise changed them from simple workers to craftsmen and artists. From the main well called Pozzo Alfredo, the miners went down more than 300 metres to extract copper.
Proceeding 15 km along the main road you 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 gateway 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 balze or calanchi, that give the landscape its severe beauty.
Beriglione-Tatti Nature Reserve
Continuing south from Volterra you 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.
The Sillana Fortress and Montecastelli Pisano
In the last part of the itinerary, before reaching the cozy hamlet of Montecastelli Pisano, you cross the Valle del Pavone, with wild forests and outcrops of ophiolite rocks. In this landscape of natural caves and old mines you notice the Sillana Fortress on its summit: the steep climb will be amply rewarded by the magnificent view from the imposing 12th century fortress. Just a few more km and the itinerary ends in Montecastelli Pisano, 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 6th century BCE Etruscan tomb.
Active and Culture Holiday
Consorzio Turistico Volterra Valdicecina
Terre di Pisa
TIP: Plan a hike by car or bike, walk into forests and nature reserves.
WHAT TO KNOW: Walking in the Nature Reserves “Foresta di Berignone“, “Foresta di Monterufoli-Caselli” and “Montenero“: 7100 hectares of protected nature. The village of Pomarance opens the way to Larderello, the World Capital of Geothermal Energy, a phenomenon that we find in the geysers of Sasso Pisano.