Vicopisano: a small treasure of history, art and culture, a few steps from Pisa
Vicopisano can surprise and fascinate you with its rich and prestigious historical and cultural heritage, as enclosed in a casket with his eponymous medieval village and from the boundary of the surrounding area: a small but interesting cultural museum spread along the six municipal districts of San Giovanni alla Vena, Uliveto Terme, Cucigliana, Noce, Lugnano, Caprona and Guerrazzi.
Concentrated in a few kilometers, and all immersed in the green Lungomonte Pisano, you will discover: castles and medieval towers, Romanesque churches, abbeys and oratories, Renaissance palaces and majestic noble villas with lush gardens, mysterious archaeological excavations and ximeniane hydraulic cathedrals of the late eighteenth century, in addition to the valuable historical archive.
Along the impressive Rocca of Brunelleschi, strategically fortified by the famous Florentine architect to make it impregnable in case of sieges and battles, all the monumental complex of the historical center of Vicopisano is a must for those who want to go into an authentic medieval Tuscan village. Featuring no less than 13 towers, the village is rich in places of particular value and interest – you can visit them every weekend, starting from the Pisan New Year, celebrated on March 25 according to the Pisan calendar, until the end of November (from December to March every second Sunday of the month and always upon request) – noticeable especially during the suggestive re-enactment of the Medieval Festival: the Praetorian Palace, one of the oldest examples of public housing in the province of Pisa, the Vicarial Prisons and their secrets, the walkway of the Soccorso, 70 meters of imposing wall ending in Torre del Soccorso, the Historical Archive and the permanent exhibition of precious relics of St. Michael in Verruca, which allows you to know the secrets and the employment history of the area before, during and after monastic foundation.
If you are fascinated by the Romanesque architecture, and want to find out in particular the Roman-Pisan, born in Pisa in its heyday when it was a powerful maritime republic, in Vicopisano you can visit four significant churches, in a real journey dedicated to this period and architectural style: the church of Santa Giulia in Caprona, the Church of San Martino to the Church of San Martino al bagno in Uliveto, the Pieve di Santa Maria in Vicopisano and the church of San Jacopo in Lupeta.
Pieve di Santa Maria definitely deserves a thorough tour , the oldest of the territory of Vicopisano churches. Located in a strategic position for the medieval roads, the church was directly dependent on the Pisan Bishop, so that its architectural and decorative forms bear resemblance to those of the Cathedral of Pisa. Of particular interest are the works kept inside, in particular: the majestic wooden group of the Deposition, dating back to the first decades of the thirteenth century, and the frescoes that cover the massive walls made of verrucano, where scenes from the Gospel are represented.
In a path dedicated to religious buildings, you can also enter other churches located in the immediate vicinity of Vicopisano: the church of San Giovanni Evangelista – which houses many works of art including the wooden Cross of the mid-thirteenth century, attributed to Henry Tedice – and the charming oratory of Santa Croce in Castellare; the church San Salvatore in Uliveto Terme , the church of St. Andrew the Apostle and the oratory of San Martino in Valle Cucigliana, the Church of San Giorgio in Lugnano.
For the lovers of archeology and ruins of ancient fortresses and monasteries, venture and climb to the top of Mount Verruca to discover the history and secrets of its ancient castle will will be enjoyable – the theater of military rivalry between Pisa and Florence – and even before linger between expanses of green meadows to visit the remains of the archaeological excavations that have unearthed the monastery of San Michele alla Verruca.
For those who, in addition to its healthy water, also wants to appreciate the history and the vicissitudes of the village of Uliveto Terme that led it to become famous throughout Europe in the nineteenth century, a half-day in the trees and the greenery of its Thermal Park is recommended: here in its gardens, you will discover how the ancient vocation spa of Uliveto has developed over the centuries to become a real economic activity of great importance (guided tours only on request).
Vicopisano lives of Culture and contemporary art all year round, thanks to a rich program of initiatives and events organized by the city and the cultural associations that animate the village and its territory and taking place within the historical buildings, the Municipal Library or the recently restored Teatro Verdi: musical and theatrical performances, exhibitions of paintings and sculpture, photography exhibitions, drawing workshops, graphics, illustrations and comics for adults and children, book presentations and meetings with authors, conferences and seminars.
And for those who want to discover the local contemporary artists – painters, wood and glass sculptors, potters – you may have some pleasant surprises by visiting their studios and workshops: on a tour dedicated to the arts and crafts of Vicopisano you will experience unforgettable experiences among brushes, canvas, lathes and glass windows of many colors.