In the center of the Pisan portion of the Valdarno is Calcinaia
, a town that has long been known for artisan activity
and, later on, industrial production. The name derives from that very same artisanal tradition—specifically, ceramic production
and the town’s numerous lime kilns
that were active until the 1960s, when the main vocation of the area took on a heightened level of importance, particularly in the small fraction of Fornacette. Anyone who wants to get a real idea of what the atmosphere was like back in the days of the old-fashioned kilns should check out the Museo della Ceramica
(Ceramic Museum) named after Lodovico Coccapani
which houses the discoveries that emerged during structural renovations of the building. The museum retraces the history of Calcinaia, which was once home to a highly esteemed center for ceramic production.
The territory of Calcinaia has always been an important crossroads behind Pisa. Today it’s still a key point of intersection for auto traffic, but at one time it was for river traffic, too. Specifically, this was a period when the area had an important role controlling the commercial traffic in the Arno basin. A testament to the town’s connection to the river is the Regata Storica sull'Arno (Historic Regatta on the Arno) held in May, in honor of the patron saint Ubaldesca Taccini. The historic districts of La nave, Montecchio and Oltrarno all participate. The competition re-enacts the centuries-old activity of the ferrymen, who transported sand, brick and wood from Calcinaia to the port of Livorno.
Calcinaia’s large Arno bay also makes up one of the most important competition “fields” for national and international fishing for sport. In the surrounding area, on the banks of an artificial lake, you’ll find the Greenlandia playground, ideal for children and families.