The village of Peccioli dominates the Valdera from above and is an important tourist destination. The town has been awarded the Orange Flag by the Touring Club, joining the ranks as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Peccioli’s history is rooted in agriculture, something still very much visible today in the area with its characteristic wineries, oil mills, industrial farms and holiday farms. Other than having kept its medieval layout, the area includes small and historic villages such as Cedri, Ghizzano, Fabbrica, Montecchio, Libbiano and Legoli.
Peccioli is adored by Italians and international tourists alike, in part thanks to its ideal location near one of the most beautiful artistic cities in Tuscany.
Once you’ve arrived, the town stands out against the backdrop of hills with its unmistakable bell tower of the Parish Church of San Verano. The tower was designed by the architect Bellincioni, dating back to the 11th century, and is home to valuable works by the Pisan workshop. Palazzo Pretorio is found in the Piazza del Popolo, with the Podesta’s coat of arms standing out on its façade. The Palazzo is home to the Museum of Russian Icons and is dedicated to the journalist Francesco Bigazzi, the Moscow correspondent who donated his collection of 19th and early 20th century to the Municipality of Peccioli.
Not far from here is the International School and Laboratory for Icon Restoration, which organizes seminars and restoration and painting courses in collaboration with the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
The village also boasts a museum centre, managed by the Fondazione Peccioli, which includes the Archeological Museum (with recent discoveries from the Etruscan sanctuary of Ortaglia), the Collection of Engravings and Lithographs, the Bell Tower and the Museum of Sacred Art.
The Church of the Madonna del Carmine is a must-see, built with bricks and completely restored in the 19th century following the terrible earthquake that devastated the church as well as the wider Valdera area.
The splendid landscape outside the town is characterized by rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves and dotted with small hamlets, including the ex-castle and centuries-old Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Fabbrica, Libbiano, with its astronomical observatory, and Legoli, home to a tabernacle by Benozzo Gozzoli inside the Chapel of Santa Caterina.
Contemporary art and design fans can continue their travels in the hamlet of Ghizzano, where the permanent works by Alicja Kwade and Patrick Tuttofuoco are kept; the English artist David Tremlett has also left his mark on the city, with his signature scribbled on the plaster and walls of houses.
The Pisa Area is a treasure trove of wine and food of inestimable value. The Colline Pisane Wine Route winds through the vineyards of Terricciola, a historic village of Etruscan origin. The trail includes the Valdera and Valdarno Inferiore, up to the Val di Cecina. In addition to wine, other specialties are on offer such as extra virgin olive oil, truffles and pecorino.
Continuing onwards, we come to Lajatico, the birthplace of Andrea Bocelli. Every year internation artists are invited to perform on Theatre of Silence’s breathtaking stage.
The small hamlet of Orciatico is famous for its chestnuts and windmills, which are still in good condition despite being built at the end of the 17th century.
Finally, the so-called Capannoli castle is well worth a visit, nestled on top of the hill where the fortress once stood. Have a look around the Villa Baciocchi and wander through the botanical park, which boasts a collection of over 160 exotic plants, some of which are centuries old.
Among the most important events in Peccioli is the theatrical performance 11 Moons, held every year in July in the Fonte Mazzola Amphitheatre that was built with eco-compatible materials in accordance with the most advanced green building techniques. The event has hosted various important figures from the entertainment world, such as Renzo Arbore, Gino Paoli, Danilo Rea, Fiorella Mannoia and Gabriele Lavia.
The Coppa Sabatini, a cycling competition, takes place in October in memory of the Peccioli road rider Giuseppe Sabatini.
In Peccioli’s countryside, there are numerous agricultural businesses that produce wine, olive oil and fruit. Peccioli’s colombana grapes are a must-try, with their sweet flavour and intense scent. Some of the most memorable local dolci are bastoncelli, aniseed waffles that, at first sight, may recall the Nozza di Calcinaia or the Brigidini di Lamporecchio but actually differ in their corrugated shape.