Close to our base in Vicopisano and not that far from the City of Pisa are many small towns and villages scattered throughout the Pisan countryside known as the ‘Terre di Pisa’ just waiting to be discovered. You won’t find many of these towns in the regular guide books but it’s worth noting that you will need to have your own transport to go and see these somewhat hidden gems.
Buti: The small town of Buti of Roman origin is a lively town surrounded by pine-covered hills and olive groves and has lovely hiking trails. Locally it is known as the village of many festivals (sagre) and events that take place throughout the year in each of the different Contrada (quarters) of town. They act as fundraisers for the event of the year the Palio delle Contrade Buti’ a competitive series of horse races which take place in the month of January. Buti is a 5-minute drive from Vicopisano and it is also possible to walk along a hiking trail which will take about an hour. Buti has the main village piazza which is the hub of the village where all the village locals gather. There are a handful of bars in the square and many excellent restaurants in the village itself.
Caprona: Caprona is technically part of the Vicopisano district and can be classed as either the first town of the district if travelling from Pisa or the last if travelling from Vicopisano. People flock here to see the quirky tower located on a cliff edge which looks like it is just about to topple off. The tower of Caprona or the Torre degli Upezzinghi Is linked to the Italian Renaissance poet Dante who fought in a battle here in 1289. Like Buti this is great hiking territory, there is a cute little bar on the main road along with a small pizzeria.
Calci: The road continues from Caprona to Calci heading towards Pisa if you are traveling from Vicopisano. There are two things to visit in this small town both are housed in a beautiful Baroque building nestled at the foot of the Monte Pisano. Here you can visit the Charterhouse monastery of Pisa and the National History Museum of Pisa university – Click here for more – ADD LINK TO The Charterhouse monastery of Pisa
The following villages come under the district known as the Valdera, named after the valley of the Era River. Palaia is a sleepy pretty town with a handful of restaurants and bars along with a great tourist office where the staff can guide you to points of interest in the village. Peccioli a pretty Tuscan town with lovely views and a genuine off-the-beaten-track feel and Ghizzano a small town with just 350 inhabitants recently become an open-air art gallery for both visitors and locals to enjoy, it’s worth noting that to drive between these villages offers a lovely scenic excursion. The scenic route can be continued through to Lari home of the award-winning Martelli pasta with its charming hilltop castle. Terricciola known as the Citta del Vino is a must-stop-off place for wine lovers where you will find some excellent family-run wineries. From Terricciola we suggest a visit to Lajatico home of the famous Tuscan opera singer Andrea Bocelli and the teatro del silenzio where Andrea performs just once a year in a stunning open-air theatre.
San Miniato The lovely hilltop town of San Minato is the halfway point between Pisa and Florence, located on the Via Francigena, the original pilgrim route. San Minato is famed for truffles and an annual truffle fair takes place here every year.