Nature itineraries in Val Graziosa

The routes illustrated in the map, winds through the wide valley called “Valle Graziosa“. This valley faces the sea and is protected by the Pisan Mountains to the north. This circumstance means that throughout the year the climate is favorable for short or long, panoramic and safe walks.

The itineraries pass through interesting places from the naturalistic point of view (vegetation – rocks – fauna), environmental (panoramas and monuments), artistic (Certosa – Pievi), historical (Verruca – Tre Colli), socio-economical (rural and artisanal communities).

Each route is identified and marked on the territory with signs that highlight itinerary, locations, connections to other routes, vanishing points and refreshment points.

Info: Tourist office of Calci 050 935961

By clicking on the links you will be able to view the complete itinerary with information and details on the route. The graph shows, for each route, the length and the difference in altitude in the various stages.

Itinerary 1A: Pieve di Calci – Par di Rota

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Starting from the Romanesque Church (XI century) of the Pieve di Calci, which contains remarkable works such as a baptismal font in marble monolith of S. Giuliano Terme, we continue with some residual traits of old streets up to the intersection of Via Ruschi with the Zambra stream. Climbing among the olive groves, in an old massed path, you reach the first hamlet of “Il Colle”. This is the birthplace of the painter ‘Giunta Pisano’, and presences for the other ancient rural community of Villa, glimpsing the parish church of Salvatore. From Villa, exiting from path 1.A, you can, following the indication of the connection (R) reach Castelmaggiore; continuing our journey, however, we carry on to “Par di Rota” from which we can see a wide panorama as well as the Pisan plain, Monte Verruca, with on its left the Certosa and, on the right, the caprona tower. Before going down to the valley, crossing olive groves and pine forests there is the possibility of joining the path 4.D (La Foce); continuing instead for our path (1) we return to the Pieve di Calci.

Itinerary 2B: Ponte Grande – San Bernardo

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Starting from Loc. Pontegrande, you cross ancient paths through olive groves, and walk in the parvis of the parish church of S. Andrea a Lama. Continue to Caprile di Sopra (home of the ancient monastery) to reach, through the wood, an ancient church where the legend and tradition recounts San Bernardo had stopped. This hypothesis is supported by the existence of numerous communitarian religious houses (ex. Convents), from which the implantation of the chestnut tree and then of the olive tree started.

From San Bernardo and “Le Piastraie” there is the possibility of joining the 4D and 5E (Tre Colli and Montemagno). Continuing instead on the 2 B and leaving the provincial road in Loc. “Le Piastraie”, from which you can admire the panorama of the rural village of Montemagno, you can reach through the woods and olive groves “the Walls of the Friars”, from which you can admire the view inside the Certosa (XIII century) and then always return along the stream to the starting point.

Itinerary 3C: Castelmaggiore – Santa Lucia

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As soon as you enter the road to Vallebuia, on the right you can see an ancient lapidary sign of a blacksmith, on the left there is the possibility of joining the path 1 A (Villa). Continuing instead on our road we reach an ancient carriage road on which the roadways for circled wheeled vehicles are still evident. This locality is called Santa Lucia, and owes its microclimate to the abundance of water that also served to the first civic aqueduct. The water wealth gave strength to the movement of the wheels of the many mills. Today we can observe remains of canalization.

Continuing at high altitude, we move to the east and, among olive groves and farmhouses, we reach the junction with the 4 D route (Tre Colli) after crossing the stream. Instead, continuing on our way, we find the shrine of the Guardian Angel, work of the fellow citizen Bertolini, that indicates the beginning of the medieval one “via Lucchese”. Continuing to descend, we return to the starting point

Itinerary 4D: Tre Colli – Prato a Calci

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On the ruins of the Longobardo Aracauso castle stands the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, protector of the valley and of the Pisa plain. Starting from this location, you cross an area planted with valuable olive groves and you can see an area tormented by forest fires that contrasts with the luxuriant vegetation of Fonte a Noce and the Mediterranean maquis.

From this locality, walk from west to north-east to reach Campo di Croce and continue along the rocks to Bisantola where, along a stretch of paved road, you take the road to Prato in Calci and continue, downstream of the Pruno, for Ceragiola (link with route 5 E Badia). From this place we go back to a forest where deer and other wild animals graze. Coming out of this fence, past the junction with route 2 B (San Bernardo), you return to Tre Colli, a place where an agritourism activity is located, which can offer you from local products to horse riding.

Itinerary 5E: Nicosia Verruca

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From this ancient Augustinian Convent, founded in the 12th century at the behest of Archbishop Ugo da Fagiano to reclaim the town, descend towards the ancient village of Rezzano from which the ascent to Montemagno begins, a typical high-medieval village where Pope Eugene III was born. Here is the junction (R) with route 2 B (Le Piastraie). Crossing the village we enter the woods along a recent forest track that passes near highly mineralized springs and that leads to the Abbey of S. Michele from which we can admire the vestiges of the apse.

If instead we want to go north there is the connection with the 4 D path (Ceragiola). Continuing instead our path for the narrow path that climbs among millenary rocks, we arrive at the foot of the fortress of Verruca (theater of ancient battles with the Florentines). Therefore starting the descent for a comfortable track it is possible to observe wonderful panoramas of the loops of the Arno and after having overlooked the plain of Crespignano, where a villa rises, it goes back to Nicosia.

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