Palaia is one of the ancient villages of Valdera, nestled between rolling hills and plowed fields. It dates back to the Etruscan Age and was the seat of a medieval castle, called “Montemagnifrido”. The majestic Romanesque Church of San Martino (1279) and the Church of Sant’Andrea, which houses important artworks, along with the riuns of the ancient fortress are the most important places to visit. This is the ideal place for those who love nature, good wine and food and local products.
Palaia is famous for a lot of events organized throughout the year, such as the “Crostino Festival” on the 1st of May in Palaia, the “Festival of Paesant Civilization” between June and July in Montefoscoli and the “Truffle Trade Market” in October in Forcoli.
Villa Saletta, Toiano, San Gervasio, Forcoli and Alica are some of the nearby locations, rich in history, art and monuments to visit, such as the Temple of Minerva Medica and the Museum of Peasant Civilization in Montefoscoli.
On the top of a hill, along Valdera, Peccioli is an example of a typical Tuscan village. Crossing the lively town center, you arrive to Piazza del Popolo, where you can find the Romanesque Church of San Verano. There are a lot of museums in the historical center, such as the Archaeological Museum and the original Museum of Russian Icons; moreover, wherever you walk through this village you can breath history and art. A few steps far from here, there is the Prehistoric Park, for children.
Peccioli is also surprising for an important theatrical and musical summer program in the Fonte Mazzola Amphitheater, located between the hills and built in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Peccioli has been awarded by the Italian Touring Club with the Orange Flag, which attests it among the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The art is in the air everywhere, even in the surrounding villages that you can easily reach, plunging into the Tuscan landscape. In the nearby Legoli you can visit the chapel with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli dating back to 1480.
A charming town, one of the most beautiful in Valdera. Lajatico has recently become an international tourist destination. It is the birthplace of the famous singer Andrea Bocelli, in fact every July, in the evocative setting of the “Theater of Silence”, a concert takes place in which he sings together with other international artists. The small historical center is a perfect mix between ancient and modern, where you can take a walk in the summer evenings, among alleys and exhibitions of contemporary art.
Chianni is surrounded by woods and hills, where citizens produce oils and wines with high-quality certifications. This village doesn’t have many historical attractions, but it is the right place for gastronomic and naturalistic itineraries. Its woods are full of boars which are hunted; for this reason there is an important festival in November, where you can taste dishes with boar and other typical Tuscan food. Nearby we suggest to visit Rivalto, with its Sanctuary of Madonna del Carmine and the “Festival of Chestnut” in October.
When you’re moving through these Etruscan sidestreets, you suddenly happen upon incredible panoramic views. Among the artistic and cultural offerings of Terricciola, worth visiting are the Madonna di Monterosso Sanctuary, the ancient Camaldolese Abbey of Morrona, the village of Soiana and the old village of Casanova. Terricciola has always been an important area for wine: its terrain is rich with sand and fossil deposits, allowing for the creation of its own microclimate, well-suited to wine production. Here, white and red IGT Toscana and Chianti DOCG wines are produced.
Casciana Terme is the ideal destination for those who love wellness and relax. You can take advantage of the beneficial properties of Acqua Mathelda, the thermal water springing from the source to a constant natural temperature of 35.7 degrees (visit www.termedicasciana.com).
Lari is an ancient village, seat in the past of an important Tuscan Vicariate, the capital of the Pisan Hills. The origin of its name derives from the Etruscan age. You have to visit the imposing “Castello dei Vicari” a Medicean fortress in which, rumour has it, witches were processed and prisoners tortured. The Castle is open to public throughout the year (opening hours on www.castellodilari.it). Lari is famous for the “Cherry Festival”, held every year between May and June, but also for the production of “Martelli Artisan Pasta Factory”, which exports around the world. The city has been awarded the Orange Flag by the Italian Touring Club.