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Visiting Pomarance and its outlying areas: what to see and do

Join us on a virtual tour of Pomarance, a small town in the province of Pisa overlooking a vast valley and the Cecina River.

  • Intro
  • What to see
  • What to do
  • Geothermie
  • Relax
  • What to eat
  • Events
  • Sleeping at Pomarance
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Located in Tuscany between Volterra and Massa Marittima, Pomarance is situated amidst lush hills, the sea and the Cecina River. The land boasts beautiful scenery, important historical monuments and fascinating hamlets like Micciano, Libbiano, Montegemoli, Montecerboli, Serrazzano, Lustignano and San Dalmazio. In short: Pomarance and its outlying areas beg to be explored!

Here are our tips on what to see, eat and do, and where to sleep!

Pomarance and its hamlets

To best visit Pomarance, start at Porta alla Pieve. Here you’ll find the hamlet’s oldest area and Church of Saint John the Baptist. Heading along Via Mascagni you’ll reach Piazza Cavour, the heart of the medieval quarter.

Visit the church on the main square which still houses precious paintings by Cristofano Roncalli and Nicolò Cercignani. Then walk to Piazza della Pretura with its elegant buildings overlooking Via Roncalli. Amongst the homes, Casa Bicocchi stands out. A typical middle-class residence from the 19th century, the home-museum provides an interesting glimpse of one of the town’s most affluent families of that time.

After visiting Casa Bicocchi, go down Via Roncalli and enter Palazzo Ricci. Here you’ll find the permanent exhibition of Soldiers and Artisans: six rooms that illustrate the area’s history, from the Paleolithic to the Renaissance. As you leave, admire the façade of Palazzo de Larderel in Neoclassical style.

Don’t forget to stop by Rocca Sillana, a fortress that towers over Valle del Pavone. It dates back to the 12th century and is located in San Dalmazio, Lanciaia. To reach the fortress, leave your car in the parking lot and walk up the trail. Legend has it that Rocca Sillana’s name derives from the Roman general, Lucio Cornelio Silla. From its terrace you can see the forest of Monterufoli where quarries of copper, lignite, chalcedony and magnesite have existed since ancient times.

Borghi della Val di Cecina

Only 16 kilometers from Pomarance you’ll find another very characteristic hamlet worth a visit - Libbano. The tiny village is what’s left of a settlement built below a medieval castle. Remains of the castle and fortress sit atop the hill where you can take in the magnificent view of the valley below.

Nine kilometers from Libbano is Micciano, another small town dominated by the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel. During the Middle Ages it had a castle of moderate importance.

 

Pomarance e dintorni

In tiny Montegemoli don’t miss the Church of San Bartolomeo, dating back to the XIII century. Recently restored, it contains an interesting panel by painter, Francesco Neri da Volterra.

Val di Cecina

The towns to see in Val di Cecina don’t end here. Also worth a mention is Montecatini Val di Cecina, a typical medieval hamlet famous for its mining history and Museo delle Miniere (Mining Museum). Mining for copper was practiced as early as the Etruscan times, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that it reached its pinnacle. Montecatini Val di Cecina was home to the biggest copper mine in all of Europe. Today, you can explore the entire mining area, enter the galleries and even climb up Pozzo Alfredo tower!

Montecerboli boasts a beautifully preserved historical center. Don’t miss the castle and 15th century Church of San Cerbone located in the center of the round fortress. Serazzano has two gates from the Middle Ages and some traces remain of the original wall foundations. You can also visit the Church of San Donato with its gothic vaults.

Just 8 kilometers from Pomarance, San Dalmazio is a lovely place for a stroll. Take your time walking around the characteristic streets and historical center, and then head up to the fortress on the forest trail.

Montecatini Val di Cecina

Approximately 40 kilometers from Pomarance you’ll find Castellina Marittima and its Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro. In this museum you can learn about the history of alabaster quarrying. Take a 20 minute drive to the hilltop hamlet of Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, and in another 30 minutes you’ll reach Volterra, a gem of Etruscan, Rome, Medieval and Renaissance art.

In Volterra you can visit the Museo Guarnacci, one of the most important Etruscan museums in the world and famous for its statues and urns. Don’t skip the Museo Civico and the Pinacoteca where you can admire many works by local artists. At the top of the town you’ll find ruins of the main Etruscan temples of Volterra. Don’t forget to stop by the Roman theatre, one of the best preserved in the world.

Pictures by goodmorningworld.de

Outdoor activities around Pomarance

The countryside surrounding Pomarance offers plenty of options for outdoor excursions.

Passeggiate nella natura in Val di Cecina

The first leads to the Cecina River. Departing from Pomarance, continue a few kilometers on foot or by bike and you’ll reach the river banks. It’s a lovely way to enjoy the pretty landscape through the Cecina valley with views of Volterra and Montecatini Val di Cecina.

Another two-wheel itinerary takes you from Pomarance to Montegemoli. Here too, you’ll enjoy wonderful scenery and in just 3 km arrive at Micciano and Libbiano. If you look far enough you can see all the way to Volterra. 

Finally, we also recommend a longer excursion by bike (about 54 km) which can be planned over two days. The ride will take you to Libbiano and the Riserva Naturale di Monterufoli-Caselli, and then on to Micciano. But there’s more: following "the itinerary of hamlets and castles" you can also peddle to Lustignano and Serrazzano.

The Natural Reserves of Val di Cecina

The Val di Cecina boasts two very important natural reserves: the Riserva Naturale della Foresta di Monterufoli-Caselli and the Riserva Naturale della Foresta di Berignone.

The Riserva Naturale della Foresta di Monterufoli-Caselli is located in the midst of rolling hills and extends approximately 4,828 hectares across Pomarance, Monteverdi Marittimo and Montecatini Val di Cecina. This is the largest natural reserve in Tuscany, so it would be a shame not to visit it if you’re in Pomarance. Take a hike on one of the many trails winding through forests of holm oaks, and breathe in the scents of the Mediterranean. Don’t miss Villa di Monterufoli, a historical building located in the center of the Reserve.

The Riserva Naturale della Foresta di Berignone stretches between Pomarance and Volterra and is bordered by the rivers Cecina, Sellate and Fosci. A vast landscape of forests and brush, it offers a myriad of paths for trekking as well as great spots to stop for a swim. In the past,  the Berignone forests witnessed intense human activity principally tied to farming. Today you can still visit the Bishops’ Castle of Berignone, one of the most important settlements in the reserve.

Other interesting activities: bicycle tours and canyoning

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, don’t miss a guided trip by bike through vineyards, cypresses and olive groves. At the tourist office in Pomarance you can rent bikes and e-bikes, and schedule a guided tour for the entire family.

Attività

Are you a fan of extreme sports? Then try canyoning down the rapids! You can partake in this exhilarating activity along the Radicagnoli River near the ancient Terme di San Michele, or the Cecina River down to Masso degli Specchi. If you want to go farther, head to Lunigiana and Garfagnana which are only a few hours from Pomarance. Don’t forget to wear sneakers, a helmet and proper water gear.

For the kids, horse trekking, pony and carriage rides can be organized. You can also go on a donkey ride in Pomarance!

Larderello and the Museo della Geotermia

Do you know what geothermic energy is? Geothermic energy is a clean and renewable form of energy. Around the towns of Pomarance, Castelnuovo Val di Cecina and Monterotondo Marittimo you’ll find the largest geothermal area in all of Europe. The area is nicknamed the Valley of the Devil for the plumes of steam emitted from its cooling towers.

Valle del Diavolo - Toscana

If you’d like to learn more, visit the Museo della Geotermia in Larderello where you can delve into the history of geothermal science from Etruscan times to today. Larderello dates back to the first-half of the 1800s and, thanks to Francesco Giovanni de Larderel, became one of Italy’s first industrial villages built in harmony with the surrounding land. The museum is located in Palazzo De Larderel and was opened in 1956. To get an idea of the power of geothermal energy, visit the well which is over 700 meters deep and emits 10 tons of steam per hour at a temperature of 180°. Composed of water vapor and incondensable gas, the plumes shoot into the sky displaying the incredible force of our earth.

Geotermia a Pomarance e dintorni

This entire area was once home to impressive natural phenomena like fumaroles and geysers. Today most of them have disappeared, but a handful can still be seen between Sasso Pisano and Monterotondo. Limestone and jasper have formed natural endogenic formations where the liquid reaches the surface creating an otherworldly landscape. 

Another interesting destination is the Terme di Bagnone in Sasso Pisano. The spa is situated along the ancient road from Volterra to Populonia and has been a sacred wellness destination since Etruscan times (III century).

Spas in Val di Cecina: Terme di Casciana

Walks in nature and visits to monuments and museums are great, but it’s also wonderful -  and essential - to relax, especially on vacation! Did you know Val di Cecina is (also) home to spas?

Terme di Casciana in Val di Cecina

We recommend a restorative spa day at Terme di Casciana about 44 kilometers from Pomarance. Take the highway to Casciana Terme or go by train and get off at Pontedera – Casciana Terme.

The spas in Casciana date back to the Middle Ages. In 1100 Matilde of Canossa chose this site. The waters are rich in minerals and particularly suited for people with circulatory problems or for physical therapy (motor/respiratory).

The spa is open year-round and offers mud baths, whirlpools and respiratory sessions, as well as facials and massage. There are two pools with flowing water: one outdoor pool (500 square meters) and an indoor pool designated for physical therapy.

What to eat in Pomarance and the Val di Cecina

Let’s talk about our favorite thing: food and wine! What are the traditional products you have to try while visiting Pomarance and Val di Cecina?

The culinary offering ranges from the sea to the farm and is laden with traditions. For the most authentic food, eat at one of the many agritourisms or small trattorias.

Among the many things to try, we suggest the bread from Montegemoli, roast lamb from Pomarance (Slow Food certified), fresh or aged sheep cheese, extra virgin olive oil and artisan craft beer.

Don’t miss the zuppa alla Volterrana, a special soup made with beans, onions, cabbage, tomatoes and seasonal veggies; pappardelle with hare or boar sauce; roast boar; grilled meats and sausage, and panzanella salad.

Cosa mangiare a Pomarance

If you love cheese try the fresh/aged sheep milk cheese and the ricotta.

To end on a sweet note, there are many desserts to choose from… Etruscan panforte, cantuccini and ossi di morto cookies. 

Etruscan panforte is an iconic local food and boasts a long history, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. The presence of spices and expensive ingredients means it was likely intended for the upper classes.

Cantuccini are Tuscany’s most famous biscuits. Made with almonds, they’re perfect with Vin Santo. Finally, try the ossi dei morto cookies with hazelnuts and lemon rind, and the ricciarelli of Pomarance, soft oval-shaped sweets made from almond paste with powdered sugar on top!

If you love good wine you’ve also come to the right place. This territory has been inhabited by winemakers since Etruscan times. Try the Chianti from Montescudaio and Terratico di Bibbona.

Events in Pomarance

In July, August and September there are three events in Pomarance you might enjoy: Palio Storico, Pomarance in Piazza and the nighttime visit to Rocca Sillana.

Let’s start with the Palio Storico of Pomarance, which has been held every September since 1960. The Palio in Pomarance isn’t like the classic palio - there are no horses or donkeys. Instead, it’s a theatre contest!

 

Un post condiviso da Alessandro (@rouge73) in data: Set 26, 2016 at 2:17 PDT

During the event, the four districts of Pomarance (Marzocco, Centro, Gelso and Paese Novo) compete with original theatrical pieces.

The show begins the first Sunday of the month in Piazza S. Anna with the official investiture of the district captains. The following Sunday afternoon, the districts parade along the city streets to the square which is turned into an outdoor stage for the competition. The winning performance is announced after dinner but the festivities continue until late in the night.

Pomarance in Piazza is an event held every Wednesday in July and August. The festival showcases local crafts and street art in a lively atmosphere.  Don’t miss it, especially if you’re coming with the family! At the event you can savor local products, browse the stands, listen to music and take part in travelling concerts.

During summer, Rocca Sillana is open to visitors on select nights. Walking under the stars and through the woods to the imposing fortress is a truly magical experience. 

 

#tuscany #pomarance #roccasillana #night #tour #latergram #nofilter

Un post condiviso da Alice (@alice.mento.a) in data: Ago 21, 2016 at 1:54 PDT

Sleeping in Pomarance

Ready to plan your next vacation in Pomarance? Then it’s time to find the perfect accommodation! Choose from our list of agriturismi and vacation homes. We have something for everyone (couples, groups or families). Take a look and you’ll see!

Agriturismi a Pomarance

Case vacanza a Pomarance

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