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Volterra Views

Forget the usual tourist trails and take the road to the Cecina Valley.

Val di Cecina: 10 hill towns to visit

Flavia Cori by Flavia Cori

Located strategically a few kilometres from the beach and a step away from the most important art cities, it merges many different types of landscapes and environments: from the agrarian Volterra landscape to the Monterufoli Nature Reserve and the impervious Metallifere hills to the geothermal energy fields in Larderello. Extending from the coast, where the town of Cecina is located, along the river Cecina in the southern part of Pisa, it’s home to beautiful medieval villages perched on the hilltop offering great views of the valley.

Check out this list and discover 10 hill towns to visit. 


Situated on a tall hill, Volterra is one of the oldest towns in Tuscany. A centre of Villanovan culture in the period between the IX and VII centuries BCE, the ancient Velathri became the capital of one of the twelve lacumonie (religious city states) during the Etruscan period.

Today it’s surrounded by two defensive walls (an Etruscan and a medieval one). Beyond its ancient monuments, Volterra offers a unique hilly landscape interrupted by the magnificent Balze Volterrane (cliffs).

Montecatini Val di Cecina

Montecatini Val di Cecina is situated south of the river Cecina, in the centre of the valley bearing its name on the west slope of Poggio la Croce.

The village has a mediaeval centre, next to which has been built the more recent part, down in the valley.


Montecatini Val di Cecina
Montecatini Val di Cecina - Credit: Fabio Tinelli Roncalli

Riparbella stands high on a hill. Like every town of ancient origin, Riparbella is set apart for its beautiful view.

A mixed landscape of woods, olive groves, vineyards and a skillfully-worked countryside reflect the agricultural origins of the town.

Opposite is an open view toward the sea with a peek of Elba and Capraia on the horizon.


Montescudaio’s ancient name comes from the Latin ‘Mons Scrutarum’ which means Mount of the Shields: Montescudaio was in fact a fortified village of great strategic importance, given its dominant position over the area.

Montescudaio - Credit: manzbob68

Guardistallo, situated on the top of a hill where the river Sterza meets with the river Cecina the old medieval village of Guardistallo, has remained practically untouched over time.

It is immersed in the green of the countryside with a beautiful view of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago.


Pomarance, at the centre of Val di Cecina, on the spur that separates it from the valley of the Trossa torrent, Pomarance has been transformed from a medieval village into a modern little town.

The hamlet of Larderello with its geothermal and industrial plants of the Valle del Diavolo (Valley of the Devil) is known for the exploitation of boric-acid fumaroles.

Castelnuovo Val di Cecina

Castelnuovo Val di Cecina, a well-preserved medieval village in the middle of a vast field of boric-acid fumaroles. The village winds its way up a steep hillside, taking on the peculiar shape of a pine-cone with its stone houses, narrow alleys, steps and small archways.

It boasts one of the narrowest streets in the world – the ‘chiassino’.

casale marittimo
Castelnuovo Val di Cecina - Credit: Spiterman
Casale Marittimo

Casale Marittimo, a medieval village on top of the hill of Poggio al Bruno just a few kilometres from the sea looking onto the coastal plains, is surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and cereal fields.

Monteverdi Marittimo

Monteverdi Marittimo, situated on the slope of the hills, its medieval castle has a circular shape.

Monteverdi is surrounded by a wall and equipped with towers carried out by the monks of the abbey in 1308.

Castellina Marittima

Castellina Marittima, for centuries an important source for alabaster, is located in a picture-perfect, quintessentially Tuscan landscape: hills covered with olives, grapes and wheat, rows of cypress trees and lush Mediterranean vegetation.




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