Montecatini Val di Cecina - Pisa province - Tuscany - Italy


Montecatini Val di Cecina with Belforti tower and view of Volterra in the back.


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 in included within the Montescudaio DOC Consortium.*




         Street leading to the old cemetary.                          




The imposing Belforti Tower (11th century) stands on the edge of the borgo (fortified 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 splendour.  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 the Palazzo Pretorio, a 14th century building, now the seat of the Documentation Centre of the Mining Museum.  In summer, annual towns celebrations, performances and cultural events usually take place.*


The historical centre of Montecatini Val di Cecina:





                                        Church San Biagio                                                    Belforti Tower












Montecatini Val di Cecina seen from different angles:







The old cemetary in the historical centre:








The oldest copper mine in Europe:




Montecatini is well-known due to the ancient copper mines, which were in operation until 1907.  The ore was mined as far back as the Etruscan period to make tools and other objects. The mining works were the most important in all of Europe in the 1800s. Here the Montecatini Company was born, and was named after 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 the miners. In summer, this mine becomes a delightful backdrop for performances and concerts.*



Panoramic views from the house on Tuscan hills and Volterra:




View in springtime 2010.                          Volterra above the clouds.                        Summer 2010.                                



Sunrise above Volterra.                                                                          Spring






Spectacular views from the house with Volterra above the clouds.





*From the Montecatini Val di Cecina brochure of the Comune di Montecatini Val di Cecina