Pisa - The Cathedral
The Province of Pisa is located in central-western Tuscany, covering a stretch of coastline, wide plains and rolling hills that include the Colline Metallifere to the South.
The coastline is made up of extensive beaches surrounded by high dunes and fresh pinewoods, and is home to renowned tourist resorts such as Marina di Pisa and Tirrenia.
The inland landscapes vary, depending on the area's natural features; they assume varying forms and colors, espeically when one arrives at the spectacular badlands that speak to the erosion phenomena that characterizes Volterrano and Val di Cecina. Another extraordinary and striking landscape is that of the famous geysers of Larderello.
Among the numerous protected areas, the Parco Naturale Migliarino San Rossore-Massacciucoli is especially important. Located in close proximity to the coast, it is made up of woods, wetlands and a great variety of Mediterranean vegetation; it is home to animal species such as boars, foxes and deer.
The Berignone and Monterufoli Forests, in the areas of Volterrana and Alta Val di Cecina, constitute two vast wooded zones bountiful with plant and animal species.
The thermal springs of Casciana, San Giuliano and Uliveto have served as hot springs spas for health and wellness since time immemorial.
Archaeological finds are sprinkled all over this splendid and changing landscape, from Romanesque architecture and historical villages to the magnificent city of Pisa with its Leaning Tower and other fascinating monuments.
Traditions, cuisine, wines and spas are waiting to be discovered in this unique territory.
The first stop on any tour of the Province must be Pisa itself; lying on the banks of the Arno, it conserves precious architecture and the memories of its glorious past as a Maritime Republic.
The Campo dei Miracoli complex, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of a piazza of monuments of inestimable value and great appeal for tourists, they are the most representative structures of the city. The white structures of the Duomo and the Baptistry, both in Pisan Romanesque; the Camposanto Monumentale; and the Bell Tower, known as the Leaning Tower and standing out against a green lawn. The Tower's incline, due to subsidence, has made this monument famous the world over, and it is by now the official city symbol.
The old town encompasses Renaissance architecture and churches, while the central Piazza dei Cavalieri is a magnificent sight, home to elaborate 16th-Century buildings, such as the Palazzo dei Cavalieri. Of all the sights, the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo is a must-see. Housed in the former monastery of the church, it holds a valuable collection of paintings on wood with gold background, sculptures, and other works. Do not miss the Church of Santa Maria della Spina, another jewel of the Pisan Gothic architectonic style.
The most popular seaside resorts are Marina di Pisa, with its typical Art Nouveau villas, and Tirrenia, immersed in greenery. The scenic complex of Certosa di Pisa near Calci is also worth a visit, while the typical small town of San Miniato is located on a hill overlooking the Valle dell’Arno (Arno River Valley).
Many are the towns and villages rich in history, above all Volterra. Of ancient origin, it has preserved interesting Etruscan and Roman archaeological finds, as well as a striking old town of a Medieval aspect. Among its main monuments the Duomo, Palazzo dei Priori and an imposing Fortress from the Renaissance stand out.
Among the major tourist destinations is the coast for a vacation full of fun and sport. Equally important are the thermal baths of San Giuliano Terme, Uliveto Terme and Casciana Terme, famous for the therapeutic qualities of the waters.
The countryside and green areas offer endless possibilities for excursions, trekking, trips on mountain bike or horseback. Routes in the Volterrano area are particularly interesting, amidst the magnificent scenery of the badlands.
Of the local festivals and commemorations, the luminaria of San Ranieri takes place in Pisa in June, while the Regata delle Repubbliche Marinare (Regatta of the Marine Republics) is held every four years.
Numerous festivals celebrate local products, including the Cherry Fest in Lari (May-June) and the National White Truffle Fair fo San Miniato (October).
Among the typical - and rather particular - recipes are San Michele’s haricot bean soup, bavettine pasta with fish, and mollusk soup. Highly notable are the fruits of land, from mushrooms and chestnuts to sweet corn and truffles.
Second courses include several special dishes, e.g. pork liver, eel and stockfish (cod).
Production of cold cuts is quite profuse in the Province of Pisa, pleasing palates with sausage, buristo toscano (black pudding) and pancetta.
Typical deserts include the torta coi bischeri, made with pine nuts, chocolate, raisins and candied citron. Pair it with an excellent Vin Santo del Chianti.
Other great local wines include Chianti Colli Pisani, Rosso di San Miniato and Trebbiano.
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