A JOURNEY THROUGH ROMANESQUE

Valdera and Volterra itinerary

<p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;">This itinerary runs through the very heart of Pisa Province, between the areas of Valdera and Val di Cecina. Starting off from the pieve of San Martino in Palaia, we come to the pieve of San Verano, in the centre of Peccioli. After a short detour to Badia di Morrona, the route leads to Montecatini Val di Cecina, with its church of San Biagio, and Volterra, with the abbey of San Salvatore, the cathedral of Santa Maria and the adjoining baptistery. Valdera is an icon of the Tuscan countryside, with its rolling hills bordered by streams flowing into the River Era, carefully cultivated fields, orchards dominating the plain, olive groves and vineyards. Typical grey-and-ochre Tuscan farmhouses, frequently fronted by a double row of cypresses, lie on skilfully farmed hilltops alternating with habitats rich in wild fauna, pine forests and secular woods which lend the landscape a charming, ever-changing appearance as the seasons go by. Val di Cecina, in the southern part of Pisa Province, offers a peculiar landscape where the typical Tuscan countryside with lines of cypresses, olive groves and vineyards alternates with clayey hills whose colours vary with the seasons, vast stretches of woodland and steep rises which contrast sharply with deeply-cut valleys. Not to be missed are Volterra&rsquo;s <em>balze </em>(cliffs) and the eerie landscape of the geothermal area (the &ldquo;smoking lands&rdquo;).</p>

At the boundary with the dioceses of Pisa, Lucca and Volterra, Valdera is a region scattered with boroughs, manors and medieval pievi, mainly rising upon the hills. In the valleys, subjected to turn into marshland, some ancient, unsafe ways would link the Volterra area to Pisa, Lucca and Florence.
Romanesque buildings in Valdera present a repertoire of plain architectural and sculptural forms, reworked in the mid-19th century following a strong earthquake that had caused serious damage to the structures. Most rich decorative features provide evidence of the close relationships between this territory and the other Tuscan areas.
Past the Valdera region, the territory of Volterra is marked by an evocative craggy geological formation. Volterra lies on a highland and appears as a small chest of Etruscan, Roman, medieval and modern treasures.
Despite its apparent isolation, the town of Volterra has always seized a number of cultural stimuli coming from the different bordering territories, conveying them into an original language clearly expressed by the most significant instances of Romanesque architecture.
The itinerary starts from the pieve of Palaia, set in a charming hilly landscape; it takes to the pieve of Peccioli, inside a medieval borough, then stops at the abbey of Morrona, belonging to a private property, and goes up to Volterra. There, it visits the Camaldolese abbey, looking onto the amazing landscape of crags, then the cathedral and the baptistery, in town; it continues up to Montecatini Val di Cecina, were the church of San Biagio dominates the main square of the mining borough.

Itinerary map

Accommodation3037|3034|3038|3035|3039|3036 [6]

Art and culture3077|3074|3078|3075|3079|3076 [6]

Handicrafts and typical products3118|3115|3119|3116|3120|3117 [6]

Cultural centres3160|3157|3161|3158|3162|3159 [6]

Cinemas and theatres3201|3198|3202|3199|3203|3200|3204 [7]

Nature and wellness3244|3241|3245|3242|3246|3243 [6]

Restaurants3285|3282|3286|3283|3287|3284 [6]

Leisure3320|3317|3321|3318|3319 [5]

 

THE CHURCHES ON THE ITINERARY

 

OTHERS ITINERARIES IN THE AREA