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.

lajatico

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.

Advertisements

The Ghost Town of Toiano

 

toiano1

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.

toiano3

 

Continue reading

The Fortress of Pietracassia

pietracassia

Near to Lajatico, on the road that connects the Valdera with the Valdicecina, 532 mt. on the sea level and on top of the hill surrounding the countryside, we come across one of the most ancient defensive buildings in the region of Valdera.
The fortress of Pietracassia takes its name from the crack in the rock that marks out the hill where the fortress was built (“pietra cassa” meaning “broken rock“), but following other interpretations the name could refer to the Roman triumvir Cassio: the location of this building was already known in Etruscan times for its closeness with the important copper mine of Montecatini, and without any doubt the place was known by Romans too.

Continue reading