Once we’ve left the village of Vorno, we start to climb up again, first along a stretch of asphalt road and then panoramic dirt trails, as we move toward the Campo di Croce pass.
From here, the next part is a descent into the oak forest on the Pisan side of the mountain. The downward stretch is first gradual, but then it becomes steeper as we get closer to Scarpa d’Orlando, where we come across one of the many water intakes of the springs that feed the Medici Aqueduct in Pisa.
Much older than its Lucchese “twin,” this hydraulic work was commissioned at the end of the 1500s by Ferdinand I de’ Medici and inaugurated in 1613 by his son Cosimo; it remained active for about 300 years, up to the early 1900s.
For hikers, the traces of the Medici Aqueduct are at first discreet and hardly striking. This is because it follows a stretch of the underground pipe that leads to the Cisternone, the large building intended for storing and settling water, decorated with the six balls of the unmistakable Medici crest.
Another brief stretch downhill brings us to the houses in Asciano, where we merge with a bike bath that follows the four kilometres of the straight aqueduct that lead to its end destination, piazza delle Gondole, now within Pisa’s city walls.
At this point, it would be worth continuing our journey for just a little while longer, following the route that leads to the Fontana dei Putti in the spectacular piazza dei Miracoli.