Castelnuovo Val di Cecina
|Satellite coordinates||Population||Altitude||Official Website|
|Lat. 43.2081 – Long. 10.9069||2.341 ca||576 mt||Castelnuovo V.C. Municipalities|
The Tourist Office
This charming village shaded by chestnut groves and assuming the form of a pine cone still retains its Medieval structure crowned by the Church of Our Holy Saviour built on the site where a castle once stood.
In the vicinity there are some interesting villages to visit such as Montecastelli with its Medieval tower and Romanesque church of St. Philip and St. James looking out over the Valle del Pavone. Sasso Pisano, not far from the charming village of Leccia, not only conserves an interesting historical centre but the vestige of an Etruscan Spa, the natural phenomenon of the fumaroles and steaming vents which endows the landscape with a mysterious air.
Castelnuovo Val di Cecina lies on the southern edge of the province of Pisa on the border between the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. The hilly landscape typical of the Cecina Valley is even more accentuated in this area: thick woodland line the hills and the Mediterranean vegetation gives way to Apennine vegetation (chestnut, Turkey oak and Hornbeams). The area is particularly thriving in geothermal phenomena especially in the area of Sasso Pisano.
Fumaroles are an example of natural geothermal phenomena and we can only imagine how the landscape of the “valley of the devil” must have appeared before the steam was piped and utilized for the production of electricity. The urban settlements are concentrated at Castelnuovo and the fractions of Sasso Pisano, Montecastelli Pisano and Leccia: four medieval hilltop villages with a characteristic formation of the look-out posts of Long bard origin.
The medieval village is built on the side of a steep ridge. A winding narrow road leads to the top of the hill, to the castle and parish church, which still retains some of its Romanesque features including the crypt, and unites the village to the castle. The village still retains its characteristic medieval urban layout surrounded by woodland. Peace and quiet reign in an area unreachable by car and where in the last few years a growing number of Italian and foreign residents have come to settle in the available, recently restored apartments. From the village you can walk directly into the chestnut woods down to the Val di Pavone to admire the medieval bridges “Ponte Alto and Ponte del Defizio”.
During the winter there is deer hunting, mushroom and chestnut picking. Most of the shops and facilities are both in the old and new parts of the village. Sasso Pisano The old part of the village with its parish church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew lies on a rock in the vicinity of the springs of the Cornia river. From here it is possible to see the scattered fumaroles or descend and follow the “signed trail” to the geothermal phenomena and the small Erga park in the Lagoni area. At Lagoni, a small chapel built in 1958 and designed by the architect Giovanni Michelucci is well worth a visit. Montecastelli Pisano The medieval village of Montecastelli is charmingly well preserved and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The village hosts the Romanesque church dedicated to Saints Phillip and James and the Pannocchieschi Tower. Near Montecastelli, a few metres from the provincial road are the 8th century B. C. Etruscan tombs “Buca delle Fate”.
It is possible to follow interesting trails on foot or on horseback through the surrounding woodland and along the Pavone torrent. Leccia is a very small medieval village which lies in the Cornia Valley on the road from Sasso Pisano to Larderello. Close to the village in the cemetery there is the sanctuary of the “Madonna del Libro”.
On the road from Sasso to Leccia it is possible to visit the remains of the ancient baths of Bagno: a vast Etruscan-Roman bathing complex which was used from the 3rd century B. C. to the late Imperial era and stands as testimony to the exploitation of the local geothermal resources since antiquity. According to investigation this area was part of the Aquae Populoniae or of the Aquas Volaternas, well known throughout the classical world and marked on the Tabula Itineraria Peutingeriana. The archaeological site lies in a splendidly unique natural environment.