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Monte Pisano in Toscana / Area  / How to reach the abandoned village of Mirteto

How to reach the abandoned village of Mirteto

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There are those who have known it forever, those who discovered it by chance, or those who have heard about it. Mirteto is an iconic place in Mount Pisano, easily accessible and with timeless charm.

In this guide we are going to find out how to reach the abandoned village of Mirteto just above the town of Asciano in the municipality of San Giuliano Terme

Along the path of the waters

Where the Medici aqueduct, which fed the many fountains in the city of Pisa, once had its source, today still flows thepure water from Mount Pisano and it is from here that our journey to what for many years was a populous monastic hamlet now unfortunately abandoned and in a state of ruin begins.

In this article we are going to explain technique and tips of the trail to all those who would like to venture out to discover this magical place. For those who would instead like to find out about one of our latest outings to discover Mirteto without lasting any effort can read the article linked here.

We arrive in Asciano

Asciano is the best starting point for those who want to get to Mirteto starting from the valley, it is also possible to reach the village coming from Monte Faeta but we will go to propose this solution later as it is much more challenging.

By Car

Asciano can be reached by car in about 10′ from the center of Pisa, 5′ from Calci and San Giuliano Terme or 25′ coming from Lucca and driving through the “foro” or tunnel of the Monti Pisani.
The ideal place to park one’s car is Washerwomen’s Square:

By Bus

It is also possible to reach Asciano by bus (line 110) directly from the city center of Pisa thanks to frequent connections throughout the day. Schedules can be found on the public transportation company’s website www.at-bus.it or directly via Google Maps.

By Train

Reaching Asciano by train is inconvenient because the nearest reference train station is San Giuliano Terme, about 3.8km away, and the road joining the two hamlets in the municipality of San Giuliano Terme is busy and lacks sidewalks.

Trail 119: from Asciano to the Shoe of Orlando

We then begin our walk to the abandoned village of Mirteto by following part of trail 119 which, as mentioned in the title, starts from the village and reaches the locality Scarpa di Orlando: a point of intersection just above Mirteto with trail 117 which from Mt. Castellare (where it is possible to visit the Villa of the Polish) directly reaches Campo di Croce (central area of Mount Pisano).

Trail 119 has a total length of 1.9km and reaches a maximum elevation of 300m is therefore easy to walk, provided that the morphology of the terrain is considered, which is steep in places and developed along the course of a stream that at certain times of the year could reach a considerable flow rate.

Beginning the walk initially on an asphalt road, the route will first pass through an olive grove near the Foresteria “Casa del Cloratore”: once the home of the technician who was responsible for adding chlorine to the water fed into the public aqueduct. After a few meters the forest will begin to give us pleasant shade that will accompany us all the way to Mirteto thanks to the many cork trees that characterize this portion of Monte Pisano and the typical Mediterranean scrub. We will then meet the Cisternone in a large green park equipped with benches, tables, and braziers where we can spend refreshing days in spring and summer pampered by birdsong and cicadas. Once past the Cisternone we can then decide how to get to Mirteto: whether to continue along 119 and then at the Scarpa di Orlando take 117 in a northwesterly direction, or to follow the ancient stairway traveled by the villagers along trail 121.

What are those wooden plaques on the trees?

Walking the trails in this area, it will be easy to come across some numbered plaques on trees… These are plants adopted through the MontepisanoTree project, which for more than 3 years has allowed anyone to take care of the forest through maintenance work financed precisely through the adoptions themselves. Everyone can in fact through a simple online map select a tree, adopt it and write their own dedication that will be engraved on olive wood plaques recovered from pruning waste.

All project info and map to adopt a tree are available here – www.montepisanotree.org

Technical characteristics of the Mirteto ring:

Length: 4 km

Height difference: 310m

Average travel time: 2,5h

Difficulty: E

Fund: White road, paved road and trail

Anello di Mirteto

Brief description of the route:

Having reached and passed the Cisternone di Asciano, we will find a bridge on our left with the trail marker 121; once crossed, the ancient paved road will begin, which by means of a steep but at the same time still stepped path will allow us to gain elevation very quickly. After about 25-30 minutes of walking we will reach Mirteto where we can admire the old buildings and the small church now without a roof. Due to the now precarious structural condition , access to the unsafe structures is prohibited, but to this day it is still possible to enter the ancient church and admire its splendor. After a picnic and photo break we can end the loop by turning left behind the church and following trail 121 for a short distance to the junction with 117 where we will turn right. We will travel along 117 in an almost totally flat portion of it to Orlando’s Shoe a point in the woods where 117 meets 123. Here we will begin our descent down to the valley to return exactly to the small bridge at “il Cisternone” from which we had previously started the ascent to Mirteto. At this point it will be enough to follow the road from the outward journey to reach Asciano again, where before getting back into the car it will be possible to make a stop in one of the village bars or stores.

Don’t miss a single trail on Mount Pisano

Buy the Mount Pisano map or 1:25000 scale hiking map online and set out to explore this wonderful area

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Thomas Gronchi

Sono un ragazzo che ama la natura ed il territorio. Credo che con le nuove tecnologie ognuno possa esprimere al meglio le proprie passioni e condividerle. La mia è quella di mostrare il mondo che mi circonda a tutti, mediante la fotografia e la scrittura. Ho la fortuna di poter condividere con tutti voi i miei scatti ed i miei articoli perciò spero di entrare nei vostri cuori con i miei contenuti.