Santa Croce sull’Arno is found on the right bank of the Arno, just beyond the where the river merges with the Egola stream. The land in this village is completely flat and surrounded by hills.
The origins of Santa Croce roughly date back to the year 1000, when some families from Lucca founded a small community in this area which was surrounded by an oratory in which an ancient wooden crucifix was discovered – giving it the name Santa Croce.
In the village, you can visit the Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo, with its bell tower and oratory, in which there is a remarkable Christ on the cross which presents the iconographic model of the Holy Face of Lucca, an important example of the wooden sculptures of the late 13th century. The Church of San Rocco is also very beautiful, built around 1650 on the ruins of the historic Chapel of Madonna delle Grazie.
Outside the historic center, it's worth visiting the Cerbaie Park and the Adorno hill, the perfect place for lovely walks among the greenery.
Santa Croce sull’Arno has a noteworthy historical tradition of leather tanning, which they do with ease. Even today it is one of the avant-garde centres for the technique of natural tanning.
Santa Croce in the Terre di Pisa, is part of what is called the Comprensorio del Cuoio, or the district where leather, footwear and leather goods are processed. In this area you'll also find Castelfranco di Sotto, a town known for the famous Palio dei Barchini: a challenge on characteristic little wheeled-boats that sees the districts compete for a cencio.
A few kilometers away, it's possible to visit Santa Maria a Monte with its archaeological Rocca area found at the highest part of the village with it's lovely panoramic terrace.
Finally, San Miniato, a renowned stop on the Via Francigena, is appreciated in autumn for the prized tartufo biancowhich, unlike other truffles, is consumed not only raw, but also in hot dishes, such as tagliatelle, escalopes, eggs or risotto.
One of the best times to visit the area is February, on the occasion of the popular and spectacular celebrations of the Santacrocese Carnivale, whose origins date back to 1928.
Another traditional event is the Santacrocese Amaretto Festival, created to celebrate the typical sweet of Santa Croce sull'Arno made by local amarettai. These compete for the so-called "golden amaretto".
Typical dishes and products
Amaretto Santacrocese is the almond-based sweet that's the symbol of the city. The recipe was created in the late nineteenth century, in the historic Monastery of Santa Cristina. Later, in the twentieth century, it was made in stores and bakeries in the town. It's usually consumed as an after-meal pastry that goes perfectly with Tuscan Vinsanto and other dessert wines.
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