There are many charming villages and interesting sites to discover along the Monte Pisano including the Strada dell’Olio (Olive oil route). Here we have included just some of the villages and sites to explore.
Believed to be of Roman origin, Buti lies on the Eastern slopes of the Monte Pisano surrounded by olive groves and close to the village of Vicopisano.
Buti is famous for good restaurants and hospitality but the best time to see the village in full swing is during one of its many summer festivals or during its Palio (horse race through the streets) in January.
A stroll through the town will take you past the charming 19th Century theatre Teatro Francesco di Bartolo named after the first commentator of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The small village does have some other interesting buildings in the way of the Villa Medicea a former hunting lodge of the infamous Medici Dynasty and Castel Tonini, the castle which overlooks the town.
As the villages of Vicopisano end after Caprona the valley opens up to the pretty village of Calci which has a cluster of shops, bars and a restaurant near the main square.
The two main sites here are the Pisa Charterhouse (Certosa di Calci) and the Natural History Museum of Pisa University.
The magnificent Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery founded in the 14th Century. The impressive building is now open to the public where visitors can get an insight into how the monks would have spent their time isolated from the outside world, however the highlight of the tour are the beautiful frescoes throughout the building including a fresco of the Last Supper, by Bernardino Poccetti (1597)
Adjacent to the Charterhouse is the Natural History Museum of Pisa University, comprising of paleontological, mineral and zoological exhibits as well as a dinosaur collection.
Following the road from Calci towards Pisa you will reach the village of Asciano – home to the magnificent Medici aqueduct which once supplied the City of Pisa with water during the Middle Ages.
The aqueduct was commissioned by Cosimo di Medici but its actual construction was ordered by Grand Duke Ferdinando 1st.
Work began in the late 16th Century and the construction had more than 900 arches which ran a course of 6 miles.
Today it is possible to cycle, walk or drive along the route of the aqueduct all the way into the City of Pisa.
San Giuliano Terme
After the Medici aqueduct follow the road towards the Spa town San Giuliano Terme. The small town has been associated with its healing waters since Etruscan and Roman times. Today it is home to a luxurious spa resort housed in a magnificent villa which was once the residence of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco Stefano Lorena, who made the villa his summer spa resort.
The villa looks majestically onto the town square and for those wishing to spend a day at the Spa it is possible to book a day spa with treatments.
The town itself is a pleasant place to stop for a cappuccino or gelato (ice cream) in the square and watch the world go by. The pretty streets are lined with villas which back onto a little stream which runs through the town. One of these villas was once the home of the British Romantic poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein.
Heading towards the coast we find the town of Vecchiano situated on the right bank of the river Serchio.
Little remains of the region’s Medieval past, however Vecchiano is home to some wonderful beaches and a nature reserve.
Marina di Vecchiano is the perfect place to escape for natural wild beaches and soft golden sand.
The four kilometre stretch of beach is largely un–organized (unlike most Italian beaches), however there are two small beach clubs offering shade, sun loungers and refreshments if you prefer a little more comfort.