Montecatini Val di Cecina
The mining history of Valdicecina among small towns and defensive walls.
Castrum Montis Leonis is the old name of the town of Montecatini Val di Cecina and its historic centre is characterised by imposing buildings and thick black and white walls as well as a castle which was the residence for knights coming from the north.
As territory disputed by Pisa and Volterra, Montecatini was afflicted by war most of the time; this is shown by the two vents opening diagonally towards the Torre dei Belforti, which allowed the maintenance of control over the Mastio di Volterra and the Rocca Sillana; a ‘spyglass’… of old times
This territory, dotted with small towns immersed in nature, has been intimately connected with a particular element, “precious” in many ways, since the Etruscan times: copper.
In the 19th century, the copper mines of this area were the biggest in Europe and – although they have not been active since 1907 - the gallery, the mining site of Camporciano, the Mining Museum and the different phases of the former copper production process can be admired.
“Montecatini was set up as a castle, a manor and residence for the knights coming from the north.”
The big tower, the old walls, the war tradition: Montecatini was born as a castle, a manor house and a residence for knights coming from the north.
With time, the town discovered its mining vocation, surely already adopted by the Etruscans, but it never lost its noble charm and its proud profile which make this place a compact centre of genuine marvel.
The Torre dei Belforti was built during the 14th century by the noble Belforti family who, at the time, dominated Volterra. Built on fortresses of old times, it can be visited today and, from the top, the horizon, from the hills to the sea, can be admired.
Another ‘must-see’ is the Castello di Querceto, an example of the old military system of the entire Valdicecina which is located in the town of Querceto. Nowadays, it is a winery.
Perched on the northern offshoot of Poggio al Pruno, the Borgo della Sassa is the highest hill in the area, towering above the whole coastal plain. Sassa offers visitors its charm consisting of tranquillity, history and tradition still alive in the faces and memories of its inhabitants.
Historical dwellings, charming country houses, refined relais or ancient castles, all immersed in the countryside, to share the experience of what it was like to live in another time. Find your favourite accommodation and enjoy each awakening in the beauty of Valdelsa Valdicecina.