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Description

Vecchiano: land of Venuleius. It is likely that the town’s name is a reference to Lucius Venuleius Apronianus Octavius Priscus, Roman Senator and Consul of Pisa in 123 CE, whose family owned these territories under Antoninus Pius. But the earliest records date back to the eighth century. It is mentioned as a vast hunting reserve that extended from Monte Pisano to the sea. It belonged to the Republic of Pisa and then came under the dominion of the Florentine Republic.
Of great interest are the remains of the castle-fortress of Avane, three kilometres from the town, a choice destination for experienced climbers.
In the direction of Lucca, the charming village of Filettole, with its characteristic Mozza Tower, marks the border between the two cities, which were once rivals. In the early 1900s, a waterworks was built in this area, replacing the sixteenth-century Medici aqueduct.
Many churches, villas and remains of castles or towers are scattered throughout the area. For example, Villa Salviati and the Migliarino complex are villas that served both for entertainment functions and as production centres for the farms’ agricultural work. Town centres in this area take a characteristic form, closely tied to the countryside. They consist of low houses with gardens and vegetable patches. The settlement was originally organized as still preserved today, with the buildings in rows, and open common spaces in the courtyards.
The whole territory’s identity is closely connected to olive growing. In fact, this is the beginning of the Strada dell’Olio del Monte Pisano, the “oil road” that stretches as far as Buti. From Vecchiano, moving towards the sea, we recommend a stop in Marina di Vecchiano within the 24,000-hectare Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli Regional Park, which was created in 1979 for environmental protection. Stretching from the mouth of the Serchio to Torre del Lago Puccini, it is a natural area of wild beauty, fronted by a very dense pine forest home to numerous species of birds. The beach runs for four kilometers along sand dunes and Mediterranean scrub with endemic and often rare plants that perfume the air with their characteristic scents.

Information
www.comune.vecchiano.pi.it

Geographical area
Litorale pisano

Population
over 12.000

Distance from Pisa
8 km

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Culture

Antonio Tabucchi
Vecchiano is the birthplace of Antonio Tabucchi (1943-2012), one of the greatest twentieth-century writers in Italy and in all of Europe, and a critic and translator of almost all of Fernando Pessoa’s work. The municipality purchased the home of this illustrious native, with the plan to turn it into a cultural centre named after him.

Cinema Teatro Olimpia
A restoration project that lasted almost twenty years has given this early-twentieth-century cinema to the people of Vecchiano, its interiors decorated in art nouveau style. Since 2011, it has once again hosted theatrical performances and concerts.

Church of Santa Maria in Castello
Just outside the village, at high elevation, it is worth taking a close look at the ruins of an Etruscan fortress, as well as at the remains of a medieval city wall. These two memories speak to us of civilizations that are part of our cultural heritage. Also noteworthy is the church, once a hermitage, of Santa Maria in Castello, which dominates the entire plain. The original church was founded in the early 1100s as part of Vecchiano castle; today only part of the walls remain. It is currently a shrine.

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Food and wine

Miele di Spiaggia
Organic and produced exclusively in the Regional Park. Both the smell and the flavour recall the scent of the Mediterranean scrub, especially because of the flowering plant known locally as camuciolo.

Oil
The municipality is part of the Monti Pisani Strada dell’Olio “oil road”.

Pinolo Biologico del Parco organic pine nuts
They come from the Regional Park and are Europe’s first organic pine nut. In addition to their pleasant taste, they offer nutritional and dietary properties. They are harvested following traditional methods.

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Activities for visitors

Birdwatching
There are five trails for sighting hundreds of birds in spring and autumn, deep in the Mediterranean scrub: il Costiero, between the mouth of the Serchio and the Bufalina canal; il Fluviale, between the Migliarino cemetery and Leccetti; il Palustre, inside the reclaimed zone on the shore of Lake Massaciuccoli; and two trails in the hills.

Cliffs
The cliff of Avane makes an excellent outdoor gym for climbers.

Nordic Walking
This technique uses walking sticks and applies the entire body. Accompanied by a specialized guide.

Jetties at Bocca di Serchio
At the mouth of the Serchio, in the stretch between the Fosso dei Poderi and the Fosso Biancalana, are the jetties, with a hundred berths, assigned publicly.

Wild orchids
In spring, you can discover beautiful orchids: four trails in the municipality of Vecchiano and in the districts of Filettole and Avane.