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11 Jan

5 must-see things between Pisa and Lucca on Monte Pisano

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If you’re on vacation in Pisa or Lucca and you want to find out what to do in the surroundings, this is the right place. Here the top 5 things to see on Monte Pisano!

1. Rocca of Brunelleschi

The castle of Vicopisano was built in the first decades of the X century in order to dominate the Arno valley. The building of the Rocca started in 1435 and it embedded the ancient Tower of Santa Maria dating back to XII century. The fortress is medieval and it is possible to visit it in all its parts. From the tower once used to send signals to Florence, we can now enjoy a beautiful view over the hills and fields around the fortress, in a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.
>> Info and costs to visit the castle of Vicopisano and the Rocca of Brunelleschi

2. The Carthusian Monastery of Pisa

Founded in the XIV century as a monastery of the San Bruno order, the last monks left the Carthusian Monastery in the 70s and since then it is possibile to visit the monks’ cells with a little garden and a small area for the manual works, the cloister,  the library, the refectory, the church and the various chapels, the Foresteria Granducale, the pharmacy, the prior’s apartment, the granary and the mill. One of the wing of the Carthusian Monastery now houses the museum of natural history of the University of Pisa, with several paleontology, mineralogy and zoology collections as well as one of the  largest European galleries of cetaceans and rooms dedicated to dinosaurs.
>> Info and costs to visit the Carthusian Monastery of Pisa

3. Villa Bosniaski (or Villa Belvedere) on Monte Castellare

The Villa Belvedere, also known as Villa Bosniaski, was built in 1881, on the peak of Monte Castellare in San Giuliano Terme. The building was composed by 12 rooms distributed on 3 floors. In the basement De Bosniaski had set up a sort of private museum of the fossils. Nowadays what remains of villa is the structure and the amazing view. Here the main entries to reach the villa:

  1. access through the “Foro” of San Giuliano Terme, following Statale del Brennero direction Lucca;
  2. access from the hill road starting from the deviation of Statale del Brennero (Orzignano) and all the way through to  “La Croce”;
  3. access from Asciano, all the way to Asciano Valle: this is the main itinerary to Monte Castellare and the archeological site.

4. The Rocca of Nozzano Castello

The fortress of Nozzano Castello, recently restored, is settled on the top of a lovely hamlet with loads of suggestive medieval views. Not far from Lucca you can find Nozzano Castello, a little village on the top of a massive isolated cliff. From there it is possible to enjoy a beautiful view on the countryside and on the hills surrounding the village. Although the village can be visited at any time,  the fortress can only be visited on request.

5. From Lucca to Pisa along the ancient aqueducts

Nottolini Aqueduct and Medici Aqueduct have provided Lucca and Pisa with water for centuries. A fairytale scenery to be discovered on your own or with a 2 days guided tour.

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Gianni Beconcini