MONTECATINI VAL DI CECINA

Montecatini Val di Cecina

A noble and proud village

The big tower, the ancient walls, and the warlike tradition: Montecatini was set up as a castle, a manor and residence of knights come from the north.
Over the time the village discovered its mining vocation, certainly already exploited by Etruscans, but it didn’t lose its noble charm and proud profile that make this small centre a real wonder.



The church, the Palazzo Pretorio, the chiassi (alleyways) and the squares give to Montecatini the atmosphere of a town, stressing how its importance has always been essential for the beautiful territory that encompasses it.

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The wooded landscape of the Metalliferous Hills, its fields and pastures, scattered with hamlets, and its old farms and houses dotted here and there, characterize the Montecatini Val di Cecina region. You have to take your time when you come to discover this area, to roam among the gems hidden in the hamlets, and experience the quiet of the countryside. This area, with the Cecina river running through it, is rich in sites of great natural interest, like the Monterufoli-Caselli Nature Reserve. The strong relationship with the natural environment is also expressed in traditional food and drink, with wild game and other local products. Also worthy of mention is wine production: part of this area is included within the Montescudaio DOC Consortium.

The imposing Belforti Tower (11th century) stands on the edge of the borgo (forti ed hamlet) which, with its alleyways and squares, offers quiet, boundless panoramas and remains of a history dating back to 960, when the Montecatini Castle was built, at that time named Castrum Montis Leonis. Due to the development of mining activities, in the early years of the Kingdom of Italy, the village saw a period of economic and social splendor. The heart of the ancient hamlet, at the foot of the Tower, is Piazza del Castello, which the Church of San Biagio looks over, dating to 1356 and housing works of art by Della Robbia and by Guido Reni. Next to Palazzo Pretorio, a 14th century building, now the seat of the Documentation Centre of the Mining Museum. In summer, annual town celebrations, performances and cultural events usually take place.

The largest copper mine in Europe
Montecatini is well-known due to the ancient copper mines in Caporciano, which were in operation until 1907. The ore was mined as far back as the Etruscan period to make tools and other objects. e mining works were the most important in all of Europe in the 1800s. Here the Montecatini Company was born, and was named a er the village. It was one of the most important European factories, which later came to be part of the Montedison company. Its history is displayed in the Mining Museum which – together with the industrial archaeological park and the mining village – offers visitors of all ages a fascinating tour deep down in the bowels of the earth, down shafts and along tunnels, in order to find out more about mining techniques and the stories of miners. In summer, this mine becomes a delightful backdrop for performances and concerts.

Ponteginori
This village of recent construction is closely linked to the history of the Solvay Chemical Company, which works the local rock-salt banks. Its name comes from the bridge that Carlo Ginori built between 1831 and 1835 over the Cecina river. Here, one can find sports facilities and all necessary local amenities. In August, festivities with sport matches, dancing, and food and drink are organized in the village.

Querceto Castle
This ivy-covered Castle is the symbol of this enchanting hamlet, comprising just a handful of houses. After being under the rule of Volterra, in 1431 this Castle was conquered by the troops of the Duke of Milan, and in 1447 by Alfonso the Magnanimous, King of Aragon and Naples. Later, in 1472, this hamlet was conquered by Florence. The Seigniory of the Ginori-Lisci Marquises, still the owner of the castle, dates to 1543. The church of St. John the Baptist is a clear example of Romanesque art, and at the end of the choir one can admire a fresco by Luciano Guarnieri, depicting scenes of country life.

Sassa
Sassa is situated on the spur of a hill overlooking the valleys of the Sterza and Cecina rivers, and is dominated by the tower of the ancient stronghold (12th century). In 1208, the hamlet was conquered by the Commune of Volterra, and since then the Commune and the Bishop of Volterra had contended for its control. It was to no avail the fact that Emperor Henry VI, in 1186, assigned the castle to the Bishop. Roaming around the hamlet, the church of San Martino is worthy of a visit, and also the baptistery made of variegated pink marble is of particular interest. The hill is a natural terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Tuscan archipelago. A legend narrates that here St. Peter found shelter, escaping from Roman persecution. Here, the Redeemer appeared before him in order to convince him to return and accept martyrdom, and left his footprints on a rock in order to bear witness to this event.

Buriano
An imposing garrison overlooking the Cecina valley, it was an ancient feud of the Saracini family clan from Pisa. Later it was allied to Volterra up until 1929. Buriano was an important rural centre, seat of a large farm, today abandoned, owned by the Incontri family from Volterra, and later by the Barons of Rochefort.

Gello
This is a charming very small hamlet, almost uninhabited, with a few houses made of stone, a church and the remains of more ancient buildings. The existence of Gello is documented from 754. There was a castle here which – in 1479 – was conquered and destroyed by the Sienese troops.

Casaglia
Together with the ancient parish church of St. John the Baptist, it was one of the castles included in the privileges that Henry VI, in 1186, granted to Ildebrando Pannocchieschi. This hamlet displays buildings of great interest, both from the architectural and urban plan point of view.

Miemo
This medieval borgo is made up of a church dedicated to St. Andrew, a farm, a charming villa and several houses. Due to its location on the borders between the valleys of the Cecina and of the Era river, Miemo has always been of significant strategic importance, and this caused the contention between Pisa, Volterra and Florence to control it.

Mocajo
Characteristic urban centre which was built around the 17th century villa of the Mocajo farm. It has a small church from the 18th century.

“La Miniera” wind park
Do not miss the chance to visit the wind park on your own or with guided tours to discover a renewable energy peculiar production and breathtaking panoramas. A windmill supplies electricity for 1000 households every year.

the logge of Palazzo Pretorio

Palazzo Pretorio and San Biagio Church

Belforti Tower

“Flambé” Festival

The mine

mine, Pozzo Alfredo

Caporciano Mine

A fascinating journey through history and memory

Montecatini Val di Cecina Villages

So many discoveries between history and nature

Querceto Castle

Sassa

Ponteginori

Miemo

Gello

Casino di Terra

Itineraries and suggestions

Ideas for walks and excursions

Sassa, the forest of Caselli and the maquis of Magona

DISCOVER THE ROUTE
Type of itinerary: on foot
Length: n.a.
Difficulty: for excursionists

The Trossa valley and the cliffs of Frontosini

DISCOVER THE ROUTE
Type of itinerary: on foot
Length: 8,520 Km
Difficulty: for expert excursionists

The ring of Poggio Castiglione and an ancient mine railway track

DISCOVER THE ROUTE
Type of itinerary: on foot
Length: 8,824 Km
Difficulty: for excursionists/strong>

Events in the area of Montecatini Val di Cecina

to discover an extraordinary territory

Friday 27 December

Festa del Santo Patrono


Discover Event

Where to sleep in Montecatini Val di Cecina

Agriturismo S.Maurizio

Case di Gello

Albergo Fattoria Belvedere

Fonte alla Lepre

Where to eat in Montecatini Val di Cecina

Ristorante Il Buglione

Ristorante\Pizzeria La Terrazza sul Borgo

Other activities and services in Montecatini Val di Cecina

Podere La Regola

Comune di Montecatini Val di Cecina

Discover other villages

of Valdicecina

Consorzio Turistico Volterra Valdicecina Valdera S.c.r.l.
Via Franceschini, 34 - 56048 Volterra (PI) - PIVA 0130834050
Operation/Project allocated within the framework of the POR FESR Tuscany 2014-2020