Activities

Montecatini is a small village with medieval origins located in the centre of the Tuscan region, situated very close to the antique Etruscan town of Volterra. The beaches are a 35 minute drive away and the most important cities of artistic interest are a one hour drive away (Siena, Pisa, Florenze, Lucca).
Montecatini is a perfect place to relax, enjoy the beauty, eat marvelous food and drink good wines. But there are many possibilities also for a more active kind of vacation.


Cities of artistic interest

Volterra, which is 15 km from Montecatini, is an important Etruscan and Roman town (its museum is the second most important after the Etruscan museum in Rome).

It is a very magical place: its elevation, allows a panoramic view in all directions, the yellow, soft earth, the shells imbedded in the road, a memory from its being a seabed, the splendid piazza, are only a few of the things to see during your visit to this sleepy jewel.

Siena is more or less an hour drive and along the way you can see Colle Val d’Elsa and San Gimignano.

Towards the North, again a one hour car drive away, you can reach Pisa, Lucca and Florence.

In shorter time you can find many smaller towns which definitely deserve a visit.


Naturalistic itineraries

Montecatini is surrounded by many beautiful forest areas perfect for taking long walks, for exploring and for mushroom and asparagus picking.

From Montecatini’s piazza, you can walk towards the Monte alla Croce ( Mount to the Cross), which dominates the town.

By driving along the road which starts from the winery Sorbaiano, you can travel towards the forests in the area above the Mine or towards the Piane.

A particularly beautiful drive is the one which takes you towards Rocca di Miemo (or Rocca di Pietracassia), which starts at the end of the Poggi Road (beyond the mines) and you will have to walk for approximately one hour, which is for most part all flat level land.

The imposing Rocca made of white stone, offers us surprising views. It rises in the middle of the forests and most probably is dated around the 10th century while abandoned in the 15th century.

Another trip not to miss out on, is the one to the Masso delle Fanciulle (The maidens’ Rock), a part of the Cecina river, which in between Saline of Volterra and Pomarance, forms marvelous pools of crystal waters in the middle of the Forest of Berignone.

From here you can dive from the rocks into the water and swim for long stretches.

Another beautiful trip to take is the itinerary of the rocky cliffs: a dirt road which begins half way between Montecatini and Volterra.

It is possible to walk along it or to drive on it, and it will offer you beautiful views of the hills close to Volterra.


The sea

During limpid and crisp days, from the higher windows of theTower, you can see a small patch of sea and the Isle of Elba.

The closest beach, known as Cecina, is a 35 minute drive away.

The coast here is quite vast and it possible to find fully equipped beaches towards the North; Marina di Cecina, Gorette and Mazzanta.

While moving south from these areas you can find long stretches of sandy beaches, without the usual European style facilities but with great pinewood areas located opposite the water.

Usually the sea water is always very clean.

The most populated beach is definitely Marina di Cecina, while all the other beaches are usually less crowded.

Going towards the North, following the great white beach of Rosignano, the coast begins to become rocky and very spectacular, with small town centres located at sea level between the presence of pine trees and rocks; such as Castiglioncello and Quercianella (50 minute drive and one hour drive respectively).

Proceeding up to the surrounding areas of Livorno, you can find long stretches of marvelous coastline with the very characteristic red coloured cliffs.

While proceeding towards the south you can find very long stretch of beaches, which from Cecina reaches other centres like Bibbona, Donoratico and San Vincenzo.

The beaches in most cases are separated from the roads and the town centres by predominant pine and oak forests.

At the end of this journey south you can find the headland of Populonia, an antique Etruscan centre which dominates the splendid gulf of Baratti (one hour and 10 minute drive).

Here the coast begins to be once again high and rocky, but you can also enjoy the pleasure of finding a long stretch of sandy beach.

After Baratti, the marine areas require longer driving distances, and we must mention that the Isle of Elba is definitely a worthy visit, with frequent number of ferry’s departing from the port of Piombino.

Another worthwhile visit is the beach of Cala Violina, a one hour and twenty minute drive as well as a ten minute walk.


Shopping & Restaurants

You can find all you may need at Montecatini; a baker where you can buy daily fresh bread, focaccia (white pizza bread) biscuits and other local food, a clothes shop which attracts buyers from all over Tuscany for its high quality and low pricing policies, two coffee bars, a pharmacy, a bank, a newsagent and a hardware store.

All the stores are located in the central piazza, where you will also find two incredibly good and cheap restaurants/pizzeria: “La terrazza sul borgo” and “Il buglione”.

Not too far away from the mine area you can find another restaurant, “L’ippocastano” with good local food.

We highly recommend some exceptionally good restaurants in this area: the “Osteria dell’ultimo carbonaio” in Montegemoli, the “Trattoria Albana” of Mazzolla and “La locanda del Sole” in Querceto where there is a big winery and the possibility to visit its cellars and taste the wines. We have many suggestions for very good fish restaurants on the coast…


Sport

Expert bike riders will enjoy these areas; riding can be done both on the dirt roads as well as the ordinary roads.

If yo like trekking the Upper Cecina Valley has three important protected areas which are the Berignone Forest, Monterufoli Caselli Forest and Montenero Nature Reserves.

Something which is very popular in Montecatini is mushroom picking and, also hunting, which can be done both in the public areas as well as in the game reserves.