Lajatico, history, culture and good living

Lajatico is a hilltop tuscan village in the district of Pisa in the Valdera area and separates the river Era from the Sterza stream, its territory lies between 50 and 628 meters above sea level.

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The first settlements have a roman and etruscan origins while the oldest records can be traced in the 891 AC when the place was a property of the counts Pannocchieschi D’Elci.

During the Middle Ages the castle was contested between Pisa and Florence and when in 1435 the florentines finally recaptured it, the wall and the fortress were dismantled.

On the main square stands a turreted structure, once (13th century) the Palazzo Pretorio, used as a prison. On the façade, can be seen the coats of arms of the Corsini family and the Camaldolese monks who lived there when the building was a monastery.

A historic symbol of the Era valley (Valdera) and once part of the Castle of Lajatico is the Civic Tower located in the west part of the village with its bronze bell dating back to 1279.

Worth of mention are:

  • The Church of San Leonardo erected in the 3rd century and transformed in the 19th century
  • Villa Fattoria Medicea Corsini once hunting residence of Lorenzo il magnifico, now a large farm
  • The Mofetta of Lajatico a natural phenomenon of muddy water affected by a carbon source of geothermal energy
  • Rocca of Pietracassia one of the most ancient defensive buildings in the region of Valdera
  • The Windmills, the remains of two mills built in the 17th century placed in spectacular panoramic position
  • Teatro del Silenzio, a natural amphitheater, a brilliant idea from singer Andrea Bocelli to promote its homeland with music and culture

Lajatico is also part of an important step on the Wine road of the Pisan Hills, a route where visitors can find quality agri-farm hospitality, wine culture that stretches from tasting and enjoying fine tuscan wines, savor a local typical dish or visiting vineyards and wine cellars, to be part of a cultural event.

Lajatico is a point of interest all year around and Arianna & Friends, a local tour operator, can be of great help in order to make a worthwhile experience of this territory in terms of food, wine and culture.

Mauro Staccioli frames Volterra

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Mauro Staccioli is an Italian artist who was born in Volterra in 1937. Although during his life Staccioli moved from his native town to Milan and had many of his major artistic experiences far from his home (in Italy but also in Germany, UK, US, Israel, South Korea, France, …), he will often come back to his town, whose native, fascinating environment will continue to influence his work and his creative imagination.  Continue reading

The Ghost Town of Toiano

Castled on the Tuscan hills between the badlands that repeatedly transform the landscape with their landslips, near to Volterra and Palaia, we meet the ghost town of Toiano delle Brota, that’s accessible throughout a road surrounded by tuff pillars similar to cathedral’s columns and high up to 50 meters. The road ends in the village, and it used to be a drawbrige that protected the hamlet during the Middle Ages.

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Benozzo Gozzoli in Legoli

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After the conquest of Pisa by the Florentines in 1406, the city, once cradle of medieval arts, saw many of its artists on the wane, replaced by the artists coming from Florence, the new master of the area.

Benozzo Gozzoli was born in Lese but he moved to Florence when he was still a child, and he spent the early part of his career as a pupil and assistant of Fra Angelico, better known as the Beato Angelico (the Blessed Angelic) for the elegance of his painting.

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