San Vincenzo

Member of the

Representative of Cittaslow

Alessandro Bandini Sindaco 
tel. 0565 707201 
mail sindaco@comune.sanvincenzo.li.it

Roberta Genghi -  Ufficio Turismo
Tel. 0565 707231  
mail: r.genghi@comune.sanvincenzo.li.it

San Vincenzo is a seaside city facing the Tyrrhenian sea, the most well-equipped tourist centre of the Costa degli Etruschi.

How to get there 
San Vincenzo is well served in terms of transport: the railway station is a few minutes’ walk from the sea, the exit of the  SUPERSTRADA STATALE N°1 AURELIA is a few kilometres from the motorway A1 ROSIGNANO-GENOVA, and a marina, which is now being enlarged, allows fast docking close to the city centre. The international airport of Pisa is 70 km from the city. 

The blue flag
The BLUE FLAG, an important acknowledgment and a European symbol of clean beaches and seas, has been waving on more than 11 km of San Vincenzo’s coast since 2006. It is part of a campaign by FEE (European Foundation for the Environmental Education), aiming to encourage and enhance the governments’ commitment to improving environments that have strong links to the sea. In 2004 SAN VINCENZO increased the number of tests on sea water, intensified beach clean-up campaigns, set up a dog beach, supported a project for security in the sea involving bathing resorts and hotel managers.
 

San Vincenzo is Registred Iso 14001 and Emas.
Among its many amenities, San Vincenzo offers excellent tourist facilities and a well-equipped mooring harbour which is currently being enlarged; its  its overall amenities constitute the centre of the accommodation group of VAL DI CORNIA and COSTA DEGLI ETRUSCHI. The coastal shoreline is composed of light and thin sand and extends for 12 km fringed with the thick Mediterranean brush vegetation which stretches out to the beach.
The town is easily accessible by car, through the great coast road N.1 Aurelia, or by train, with the railway line TURIN-ROME, and it  is 70 km from the international airport of Pisa “GALILEO GALILEI”.

SAN VINCENZO is well supplied with all public facilities.
It is close to the POPULONIA promontory and it stands at the centre of an important Etruscan archaeological area. Moreover, it is also near to picturesque ancient villages and historic medieval hill towns such as SUVERETO, CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA, BOLGHERI, CASTAGNETO CARDUCCI, VOLTERRA, SAN GIMIGNANO. Three of the most important cities that are renowned for their art treasures, PISA, FLORENCE and SIENA are respectively 70, 140 and 115 km from the town.

Another place of great tourist importance and within easy reach  of the town is THE ISLAND OF ELBA  (boarding at  Piombino, 20 km from SAN VINCENZO).

San Vincenzo is also well-equipped in terms of sport, with a series of sporting centres to satisfy any demand: football, five a side, basketball, tennis, volley, rugby, archery and most of all cycling, including professional cycling, with the “E. SOLVAY” cycle-track. And for those who enjoy the health-giving properties of spa waters, the nearby health resort of TERME DI CALDANA offers healing baths with its healthful revitalizing waters.

The climate is of the Mediterranean type: temperatures range from mild during the winter to warm during the summer. The summer heat is mitigated by sea breezes and the in winter the thermometer hardly ever drops below  5 degrees; in autumn and spring the temperature range rarely varies more.

History

San Vincenzo has been inhabited almost since the dawn of mankind; the first human evidence is traced back to the Upper Paleolithic and the area was continuously populated up to the historical era.

This is probably due to its fortunate position, where the Colline Metallifere range of hills stretches almost to the sea, thus connecting the plain of CECINA river with that of CORNIA river.

The most ancient name we are aware of is “TORRE DI SAN VINCENZO”, named after the coastal tower that has been recently bought by the municipality and has been restored and opened to the public. The tower was part of a series of fortifications andlook outs scattered throughout the coast, built to defend the beach and the inland villages against pirate attacks.

The Etruscans certainly did not underestimate the strategic importance of the area, whose two valleys penetrated some distance inland and created easy landing places that gave access to the hinterland. The whole area was densely populated due both to its closeness to POPULONIA, the powerful LUCUMONIA at the time, and the presence of minerals and extensive woods: these two aspects gave rise to many foundrieswhich contributed to the industrial importance of the site.

Between the IX and the V century B.C. intense mining activity was practised. The steel industry and the export trade thus constituted a source of great wealth.

After the ROMANS conquered the zone, they routed the AURELIA street through SAN VINCENZO and they probably built a village and a landing place there.

After the barbarian invasions, the Longobards erected the CASTLE OF BISERNO on the hill that overlooks the sea (in the current pits of SAN CARLO), which under theGerman emperors’ domain passed under the control of the COUNTS DELLA GHERARDESCA.

In 1304 the REPUBLIC OF PISA destroyed the castle and later on built the coastal tower, giving birth to the new San Vincenzo settlement made up of small houses forfishermen and farmers. They also built a customs office and a landing-stage.

In 1406, after the fall of Pisa, the community passed under Florentine dominance and became part of the territory of CAMPIGLIA. On 17th August 1505, at the TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO, ERCOLE BENTIVOGLIO, guiding the Florentine militia, defeated BARTLOMEO D’ALVIANO, captain of a makeshift army that had tried to come to the help of the citizens of Pisa and to back a rebellion against Florence.

After this war episode the COMMUNITY OF SAN VINCENZO was obliged to follow the fortunes of the GRAND DUCHY OF TUSCANY up until the unification of Italy.

San Vincenzo has enjoyed the status of independent municipality since 1949, having been officially separated from the municipality of CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA by the Law Decree n.414 of the President of the Republic on 3rd June 1949.

 

The church of San Vincenzo Ferrari

It was started in 1855, as a substitute for the old Oratory standing near the tower. It was commissioned by Leopoldo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The church was completed in 1861 and consecrated to ST VINCENZO FERRARI. On 24th December 1865 the church was opened to the public.

The GRAND DUCHY had employed outstanding draftsmen for the construction of the church and the result is a streamlined uncluttered style with one aisle and a central altar. In the beginning the church had a wooden altar, now standing in the old Oratory. The wooden altar was later substituted by a new construction made of stone while the old wooden altar was moved to the lateral chapel dedicated to SAN VINCENZO, which was built on as a later addition.

As well as the altar, the old oratory housed two paintings by an unknown artist representing SAN VINCENZO FERRARI and THE ANNUNCIATION. The second one was set in a frame of great value. The two paintings are now situated in a parish room. Behind the choir it is possible to admire a “DEPOSITION” by CARLO GUARNIERI, an artist from CAMPIGLIA; the fascinating baptismal font was donated by the GHERARDESCA family in memory of the COUNT MANFREDI, who died in 1954. The two sides of the Font hold two commemorative plaques: one depicting the heraldic bearings of the GHERARDESCA family and the memory of the COUNT MANFREDI, the other containing the dedication.

Another GHERARDESCA commemorative plaque is located on the right of the central altar. It contains the act of donation of the CRUCIFIX by NICOLETTA DELLA GHERARDESCA on 7th August 1961 given in memory of COUNT ALFREDO. The crucifix represents a masterpiece of Tuscan craftsmanship.

In the beginning the church had three doors; the two side doors were removed in the early 20th century after some alterations which affected the initial slender line whereas originally the doorways were perfectly balanced with the lateral staircases.

In 1978 GIAMPAOLO TALANI, a young artist from San Vincenzo, was entrusted with realizing a series of frescoes focusing on the New Testament, to embellish the church’s walls and vault. In 1981, after several years of training, the artist began to paint the 12 stories on Christ’s life, continuing the work until 1987.

The frescoes have been arranged in chronological order on the church’s walls and they are well-balanced with the building’s internal structure. The size of the frescoes varies from 9 mq, as in “Christ’ s Capture”, “The Flagellation”, “The Deposition”, “Pietà” and “The Four Evangelists”, up to 24 mq, as in “The Last Supper” 35 mq in “Christ’s Trial” and 63 mq in “The Resurrection”, which is situated on the vault of the choir at the height of 15 metres above floor level.

The size, effort and working time of the latter fresco make it one of the greatest paintings in recent decades carried out with the “buon fresco” technique.

 

THE TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO

The tower is the most ancient building in San Vincenzo, located in the city centre on the beach to the north of the marina.

The first settlement on the San Vincenzo hills, THE CASTLE OF BISERNO, was destroyed in 1304 and as a consequence its inhabitants were cattered throughout the surrounding area.

In September 1304 Pisa’s statesmen ordered the construction of the casalini, dwellings for local people, to be given to Biserno’s inhabitants; both local families and other people then settled in this site.

In XIX century study of the local area, some controversy arose concerning the dating of the castle; eventually, the historian Isidoro Falchi decided in favour of 1307 as the year of the tower ‘s construction, after examining a commemorative plaque on the building’s walls which has since then disappeared after some building works. However, documents dating from 1287 show hints of a SANCTUM VINCENTIUM, which supports the idea that the new community may have settled around another one already living there.

The REPUBLIC OF PISA then erected the tower and recent archaeological research carried out during renovations proved that it had been built above a pre-existing structure.

The tower was connected to a landing stage used for shipment: wheat from MAREMMA and marble, mainly, from the CAMPIGLIA hills.

In the first half of the XV century FLORENCE was at war with MILAN and in 1431 the MAREMMA was invaded by Milan’s inhabitants, who remained there until 1433. Thetower was probably damaged during the war, and on 18th June 1434 the magistrate of the OPERA DEL DUOMO ordered the beginning of its restoration. The job was carried out in 1435 by a group of workers of the Florentine OPERA DEL DUOMO, who were also entrusted with extracting marble from the nearby MONTE ROMBOLO for theDuomo di Santa Maria del Fiore.

The tower was repaired and the landing stage was made effective for marble shipping once again, which is why in 1437 the construction of new warehouses was necessary. They were built in the same area where the COUNCIL OF SAN VINCENZO is housed today. Its first geographic identification is traced back to 1503, when LEONARDO DA VINCI drew a map of the territory of SAN VINCENZO which included a tower.

On 17th August 1505 a battle broke out, and, as well as being the most important historical episode in the SAN VINCENZO area, it determined the final overland predominance of Florence, which thus came to exert territorial power over SAN VINCENZO. VASARI painted the war in the fresco “The Pisans routed at the San Vincenzo tower” situated in the PALAZZO VECCHIO Salone dei 500 in Florence. The Florentine troops, headed by captain BENTIVOGLIO, staged a fierce battle and defeated Pisa’s army, headed by D’ALVIANO, as he was trying to make his way to Pisa which was under threat from the Florentines.

 

For centuries THE TOWER SAN VINCENZO remained a frontier landmark situated on the main road along the coast. But with the decreasing interest in marble from Campiglia, the landing stage lost a large portion of the trade and the quay was gradually abandoned. There remained the fortified tower, with an artillery and a garrison, a little church and a few warehouses.

In 1749, Colonel O. WARREN, commanding officer of the Fortifications of the Grand Duchy, mentioned the tower with its military equipment, sketching a view of it in his “Collection of maps of the main cities and fortresses of the Tuscan Grand Duchy” where he also described the coastal towers.

When the LORRAINES ascended to the Tuscan Grand Duchy, San Vincenzo once more became a significant the port of call and the TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO was turned into a customs office. In 1774 the customs office was moved, first to the present-day site of the Municipal building and later to the former Guardia di Finanza barracks.

In 1875 the State of Italy decided to dispose of onerous and by then useless properties like the TOWER, which was sold together with the church at a public sale. Subsequently, over the course of more than a century, the new owners carried out many alterations and improvements: the lift bridge was eliminated and the church eventually assumed a complete different shape, and was then totally removed.

In time it became quite impossible to see the original structure of the TOWER from the outside as its transformation into a dwelling involved the addition of a series of architectural elements like windows, doors and a fence for the surrounding garden.

On 29th August 1997 the Council passed a resolution for the purchase of the TOWER, which is now recognized as an integral part of the town’s historical heritage: in September 1998 and in 2001 work began on the restoration and renovation of the four levels that constitute its structure. The restoration work has not only made the TOWER’s original structure visible, but it has also enabled detailed archaeological investigation to be continued.

Today a crystal floor allows the view of remains of stairs and pieces of wall belonging to the Middle Ages.

The TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO is now completely accessible and free from architectural barriers. It contains the new council hall and an INFORMATION OFFICE; in addition, there are boardrooms and multimedia showrooms.

The TOWER contains also the work THE BATTLE OF SAN VINCENZO, the triptych by the artist from San Vincenzo DANIELE GOVI, painted in 1990 and previously displayed in the Palazzo della Cultura.

 

THE BATTLE OF SAN VINCENZO

In the early 1500s the city of Pisa, which had long been under Florentine rule, rose up and gained back both its ephemeral independence and the great expectation of restoring life again to the ancient republic. After the revolt, FLORENCE reacted by besieging the rebellious city. BARTOLOMEO D’ALVIANO, captain of a makeshift army of about a thousand men gathered from throughout Siena’s maremma or countryside, went to help Pisa under the prompting of the city of SIENA itself.

The Florentines sought to avert the threat and arranged a ride-out with about 1200 soldiers guided by ERCOLE BENTIVOGLIO, one of their best leaders.

The Florentine army camped near CAMPIGLIA and headed by BENTIVOGLIO attacked the area surrounding “THE TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO”. The target was not random. The TOWER, built where the hills create a bottleneck, was the only spot easy to defend in the whole Florentine domain, and it separated the PRINCIPALITY OF PIOMBINO, at the time under Siena’s protectorate, from the wide plain that extended as far as PISA. The borderline was approximately the area where nowadays the Municipality of SAN VINCENZO stands, about 10 kilometres from the battlefield. Had the Florentine army been spread throughout the plain, it would certainly have had much greater difficulty trying to stop BARTOLOMEO and his men. The bloody battle took place on 17th August 1505 in the morning, just near the “TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO” and ended with the victory of the Florentines and the flight of D’ALVIANO’s army. D’ALVIANO was obliged to hide first in SASSETTA and then in MONTEROTONDO, a castle which at the time was under SIENA’s domain.

D’ALVIANO’s defeat was the beginning of the unstoppable demise of PISA until its final fall, which occurred at PIOMBINO in 1509. The battle is represented in a famous work by GIORGIO VASARI, a huge fresco entitled “Rotta dei Pisani a Torre San Vincenzo” [“The rout of the Pisans at the San Vincenzo Tower”] situated in Florence, Palazzo Vecchio, Salone dei 500. The fresco is part of a series of paintings on the theme of the great deeds of the Medici.

Another artist, DANIELE GOVI from SAN VINCENZO, painted a triptych celebrating the battle; the work is now on show in the new Council hall of the restored TOWER OF SAN VINCENZO.

SAN VINCENZO TODAY

San Vincenzo is a seaside city facing the Tyrrhenian sea, the most well-equipped tourist centre of the Costa degli Etruschi.

 

HOW TO GET THERE

San Vincenzo is well served in terms of transport: the railway station is a few minutes’ walk from the sea, the exit of the SUPERSTRADA STATALE N°1 AURELIA is a few kilometres from the motorway A1 ROSIGNANO-GENOVA, and a marina, which is now being enlarged, allows fast docking close to the city centre. The international airport of Pisa is 70 km from the city.

 

THE BLUE FLAG

The BLUE FLAG, an important acknowledgment and a European symbol of clean beaches and seas, has been waving on more than 11 km of San Vincenzo’s coast since 2006. It is part of a campaign by FEE (European Foundation for the Environmental Education), aiming to encourage and enhance the governments’ commitment to improving environments that have strong links to the sea.

In 2004 SAN VINCENZO increased the number of tests on sea water, intensified beach clean-up campaigns, set up a dog beach, supported a project for security in the seainvolving bathing resorts and hotel managers.

Among its many amenities, San Vincenzo offers excellent tourist facilities and a well-equipped mooring harbour which is currently being enlarged; its its overall amenities constitute the centre of the accommodation group of VAL DI CORNIA and COSTA DEGLI ETRUSCHI. The coastal shoreline is composed of light and thin sand and extends for 12 km fringed with the thick Mediterranean brush vegetation which stretches out to the beach.

The town is easily accessible by car, through the great coast road N.1 Aurelia, or by train, with the railway line TURIN-ROME, and it is 70 km from the international airport of Pisa “GALILEO GALILEI”.

SAN VINCENZO is well supplied with all public facilities.

It is close to the POPULONIA promontory and it stands at the centre of an importantEtruscan archaeological area. Moreover, it is also near to picturesque ancient villages and historic medieval hill towns such as SUVERETO, CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA, BOLGHERI, CASTAGNETO CARDUCCI, VOLTERRA, SAN GIMIGNANO. Three of the most important cities that are renowned for their art treasures, PISA, FLORENCE and SIENA are respectively 70, 140 and 115 km from the town.

Another place of great tourist importance and within easy reach of the town is THE ISLAND OF ELBA (boarding at Piombino, 20 km from SAN VINCENZO).

San Vincenzo is also well-equipped in terms of sport, with a series of sporting centres to satisfy any demand: football, five a side, basketball, tennis, volley, rugby, archeryand most of all cycling, including professional cycling, with the “E. SOLVAY” cycle-track. And for those who enjoy the health-giving properties of spa waters, the nearby health resort of TERME DI CALDANA offers healing baths with its healthful revitalizing waters.

The climate is of the Mediterranean type: temperatures range from mild during the winter to warm during the summer. The summer heat is mitigated by sea breezes and the in winter the thermometer hardly ever drops below 5 degrees; in autumn and spring the temperature range rarely varies more then 10 degrees.

Wet weather is unusual, and except for infrequent storms, rainfall is generally less than 800 mm per year. October- November and February – March are the rainiest months. All the year round the most frequent wind on the seacoast is a gentle easterly wind, whose medium speed is slightly more than 10 kilometres per hour. Occasionally a south-westerly wind blows; this is a stronger wind which often exceeds 80 kilometres per hour and its squalls may cause damage on the coast. The other winds are considered less important, except for the Scirocco, usually causing wet weather.

 

VAL DI CORNIA PARKS

THE NATURE PARK OF RIMIGLIANO, THE ARCHAELOGICAL AND MINING PARK OF ROCCA SAN SILVESTRO AND THE ARCHAELOGICAL PARK OF BARATTI AND POPULONIA.

The nature park of Rimigliano is on the southern side of San Vincenzo’s territory, marking the boundary between the Municipalities of PIOMBINO and CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA. The park was set up in 1973 and extends for 120 hectares. It is equipped all summer round with excellent refreshment services and beach assistance which make the stay at the seaside very pleasant and comfortable. It can be easily reached on foot from the city centre, allowing visitors to enjoy a naturalistic trekking tour in touch with the nature, and following a trail inside the park.

It is also possible to get there by means of the various public and private transport services, bus, taxi and car, available at San Vincenzo.

The park faces the sea and is protected by against the fresh winds that blow from inland thanks to the presence of the MONTI DI CAMPIGLIA chain of hills, and against the sea winds blowing up from the south by the presence of the promontory of PIOMBINO and the ISLAND OF ELBA. The climate is mild and pleasant.

Four environments may be observed from a morphological point of view: a strandcomposed of light fine sand, stretching down to the shoreline and shelving gently into the water, whose shallow depth is ideal for bathing.

Behind the dunes there lies a marshy band, which is a residue of coastal lagoon.

Around the dunes one finds a band constituted by a pioneer and soil consolidant vegetation (ammophilia [beach grass] and agropyron [couch grass] and junipers) as well as examples of prickly juniper and the less common Juniperus Sabina [savin]. The wet band, which was reclaimed long time ago, is now colonized by bulrushes, marsh reed and common reed.

The remaining area is mainly covered with residual strips of coastal pine forestcomposed of Pinus pinea [Italian stone pine or umbrella pine] and Pinus pinaster[cluster pine], but they are now being substituted by the typical Mediterranean brush vegetation which is mostly characterized by holm oaks, cork oaks and examples ofdowny oaks growing under the sparse cover given by the pine forest.

Red squirrels and the brown dormouse can be often met there, whereas boars, wild rabbits, crested porcupines, badgers and foxes may hide shyly amid the vegetation and do not frequently come into view. The Eurasian jay and the green woodpeckercan be easily spotted among the trees.

The archaeological and mining park of Rocca San Silvestro was set up to protect and give prestige to an extraordinary open-air archive which constitutes the protagonist of the VAL DI CORNIA’s mining history. It extends over 450 hectares within the Municipality of CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA and it is rich in veins of copper, lead, silver,zinc and valuable marble.

Throughout the territory, signs are still visible of the mineral processing over the centuries, from the Etruscan Age almost until the present time (the 70s). The remarkable and vast mineral deposits are now visible thanks to the 30-kilometre-long tunnel, most of which is accessible to visitors and offers an amazing sight.

Moreover, among the various sights, visitors can also note the extraction shafts, which are still working with a hoist device and a basket that descends deep down, and the mining buildings as well. The landscape we can see today is an extraordinaryopen-air archive which, through its mining settlements, mineral washeries, smelting furnaces, old railways, paths and the extensive evidence everywhere in the park, provides a striking testimony of the history of man’s utilization of the mineral heritage over different eras. Equally striking are the huge remains of the mining settlements such as the Medieval ROCCA SAN SILVESTRO or the ETRUSCAN MINES SOCIETY dating from the early 1900s at CAMPO DELLE BUCHE.

These striking remains allow the distinction into four main periods of mining activity, which in turn are interspersed with periods of a total lack of a mining “memory”. The phases of momentary oblivion are clearly revealed because each resumption of the activity was a real rediscovery of the underground wealth. The periods of mining activity belong to the Etruscan and Roman Ages (VII – The I century. B.C.), the Middle Ages (end of the X century up to the XIV century), the Modern Age (. the XVI century), and, lastly, to the Contemporary Age (the XIX-XX centuries).

The monumental grandeur and the remarkable state of preservation of ROCCA SAN SILVESTRO CASTLE allow a fascinating glimpse of the daily Medieval way of living, offering insight into a typical feudal society settlement established for the utilization of copper, lead and silver minerals.

Excavation data have made it possible to date the village’s foundation to the X century, whereas the first reference in documents is in 1004. The economy was specialized in mining activity and mineral production. The unique status of the constructions and their total abandonment during the XIV century make the ROCCA SAN SILVESTRO CASTLE an extraordinary document allowing visitors to gain an idea of the organization of life and mining activity in a Medieval village.

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF BARATTI AND POPULONIA extends for 80 hectares between slopes rising from the promontory of PIOMBINO and the GULF OF BARATTI. It includes a significant portion of the ancient village of POPULONIA, the only Etruscan village facing the sea, with its necropolis, calcarenite caves and the industrial areas for iron processing, using the hematite deposits brought from the ISLE OF ELBA. Since the Iron Age (the IX century B.C.) POPULONIA had made itself known for its natural harbour with a landing stage, and as a strategic area where the route sailed by Tyrrhenian ships linked SARDINIA, CORSICA and ETRURIA. The town also exerted its power over mineral deposits at CAMPIGLIA. Between the VI and the IV centuries B.C. it became the main ironworks centre of the Mediterranean coast, and became highly specialized in processing the hematite minerals deriving from the ISLE OF ELBA.

POPULONIA is structured into an upper and a lower town; the lower part is centred around the harbour, whereas the upper part, perched on the top of the hill, constitutes the acropolis which had to be defended and consequently was erected high on the promontory. The lower town included the harbour facilities and the industrial area, which was set outside the mineral district, on the POGGIA ALLA PORCARECCIA, where remains of a paved road have been found as well. In the industrial district, which is today visible by following the IRON TRAIL, excavations have revealed buildings used for ferrous mineral refining.

Like for the other main Etruscan towns, what is known today about the architecture and the overall artistic culture of POPULONIA has been discovered mainly thanks to its cemetery.

Throughout the PARK OF POPULONIA AND BARATTI some among the most significant examples of ancient tombs can be visited in the necropolis. In the lower part of the park a guided tour of the famous SAN CERBONE NECROPOLIS is available.

 

SPORT AND FREE TIME

San Vincenzo is well-equipped in terms of sport, with a series of sporting centres to satisfy any demand. Over the past few years many professional teams of a variety of sports, in particular cycling and football, have discovered the pleasures of the “COSTA DEGLI ETRUSCHI” and SAN VINCENZO as well, especially for the athletic training or simply as an attractive setting to enjoy relaxation. This discovery appears to have successfully brought significant results, due to the healthy climate and the overall quality of life that SAN VINCENZO can offer to its tourists. This is the beneficial result of an environment rich in greenery and natural beauty, which in many areas is still unspoilt as in the surroundings of the cycle-track “E. SOLVAY” at SAN CARLO, with its clean air and a temperate climate such as only the Mediterranean sea can offer.

The athletes and their trainers appreciate the wholesome agricultural products of the area as well as the trails free from traffic that wind their way across the surrounding hills dotted with quaint ancient villages, which are ideal for training.

Professionals together with amateurs enliven the site with their presence during the winter and the spring, before the summer tourist boom.

GASTRONOMY AND WINES

SAN VINCENZO AND THE SEA CONJURE UP A TRADITION LINKED TO FISH AND THE MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE

A local speciality: the Atlantic Bonito (=palamita) and...San Vincenzo

A local event: The enogastronomic exhibition dedicated to the Atlantic Bonito, to the blue fish and to the typical Val di Cornia products.

The Atlantic Bonito

The Atlantic Bonito’s scientific name is Sarda Sarda, of the family SCOMBRIDAE, order PERCIFORMES. The Bonito travels in fairly large shoals. It is a predator very close to the TUNA FISH in its appearance. It has a compressed body and is dark blue in color, with a long dorsal fin. It can weigh up to 10 Kg. The Bonito moves near to our coasts during the summer, but it can be even found in March, at dawn, and following the anchovies early in the morning in the shallow waters. Its flesh is excellent after a couple of months of marinade in olive oil.

The territory of the VAL DI CORNIA is a large producer of excellent fruit and vegetables, and extra-virgin olive oil represents an important production alongsideD.O.C wine production, which has grown in importance and has now achieved international popularity, repeatedly quoted and recommended throughout Europe.

In order to be awarded the D.O.C VAL DI CORNIA label several types of grapevine can be used, both traditional and “unusual”. For red and rosé wines, besides Sangiovese, which is the basic type, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, the MERLOT, CENAIOLO NERO and CILIEGIOLO varieties can be used as well. For white wines it is possible to mix a higher percentage of TREBBIANO TOSCANO and VERMENTINO with more unusual grapevine varieties like WHITE and GREY PINOT, or with “historical” vinessuch as CLAIRETTE, BIANCONE DI PORTOFERRAIO, ANSONICA or MALVASIA DEL CHIANTI.

The territory of SAN VINCENZO, to the north of the VAL DI CORNIA, is very close to “Bolgheri”, a centre which is famous for its D.O.C. wines and vines. The excellent wines produced there are well known throughout Europe, for example SASSICAIA and ORNELLAIA.

Therefore, SAN VINCENZO is situated at the centre of an area which offers some of the best enogastronomic expressions of Tuscany, rich in internationally appreciated products which today are increasing both in quality and recognition, and are widely appreciated by experts or just tasters.

Food and gastronomic delicacies are present in a wide range of different forms, offering numerous opportunities according to demand and personal preferences, from sea food to the traditional local products of the countryside. Those who recognize the major role played by enogastronomy within the tourism industry and in general to improve the quality of life will find that the SAN VINCENZO area ranks high in this field.

Pierangelini’s “GAMBERO ROSSO” is an important restaurant, known all over Italy, whose creativity and research go beyond the concept of gastronomy and is deeply intermeshed with culture.

At San Vincenzo the blue fish is a natural element: indeed it is a veritable part of the history of this community, which has always founded its life on fishing and the products of the sea. Now, thanks to the blue fish and to all the new values of health awareness and nutrition, and by building on an exellent gastronomy and the re-discovery of its own roots, San Vincenzo has decided to revitalize the history that has always belonged to it: namely the sea, fish and fishing. This positive reappraisal of tradition has been enhanced by the revival of the ancient blue fish recepies: ANCHOVIES, SARDINES, TUNAS and BONITOS, creating events to make people appreciate the “poor“ fish.

This marked the birth of the BONITO exhibition, an event that takes place in May and involves the wine-growers of the three D.O.C. wine-producing areas of the province of LIVORNO (BOLGHERI, MONTESCUDAIO, VAL DI CORNIA), the extra-virgin oil makers, fishermen and fishmongers. And all aspects of local cuisine, of course, available for tourists to enjoy at the innumerable eateries that characterize the area.

Ancient documents testify that the blue fish is part of San Vincenzo’s tradition: documents dating from as early as the 1300s contain hints about the flourishing fishing activity in the village. In the 1700s and in the early 1800s a few fishermen’s families from Liguria settled nearby, embarking on an entrepreneurial activity which went on to become the main economic resource in the small sea village.

In the meantime, anchovy processing became such a refined and highy appreciated activity as to induce count SERRISTORI, in the 1800s, to come and go from PISA down to the coast, night and day, by coach, just to obtain a barrel of the best pand most highly prized anchovies in salt.

The handcraft production of the ATLANTIC BONITO and its business has won the recognition of the PRESIDIO SLOW FOOD “Palamita del mare di Toscana” ; other local productions likewise have the label “PALAMITA DI SAN VINCENZO”.

 

ANCHOVY AND GREEN PEA SOUP

By Rosa Ciatti, winner of a competition of ancient recepies from San Vincenzo’s families.

It is a liquid soup, which at the time was prepared in the spring, as only during this season was it possible to have large quantities of GREEN PEAS and FRESH ANCHOVIES available.

The experience of that era, handed down from generation to generation, has provided us with an eloquent testimony of the exact quantities of the original main ingredients, but they can also be modified according to personal taste.

Ingredients for 4/5 servings: 500g fresh anchovies, 250g fresh green peas. Sauté the onion and parsley gently in warm oil until tender. Add the anchovies from which the bones have been removed, the peas, salt and a pinch of sugar to enhance the flavour of the peas. Add a small quantity of tomato and bring to the boil and then simmer for a while. When it is ready add water so as to have the required quantity of broth and bring the mixture to the boil again. Then add your favourite pasta (chopped linguine for example). Add hot pepper according to taste.

 

EVENTS

Villages in the VAL DI CORNIA are rich in tradition and popular festivals and they are enlivened by original and spectacular events all year round.

The CARNIVAL OF THE SEA takes place in February at San Vincenzo, with the participation of the twinned cities PFARRKIRCHEN (GERMANY) and SAINT MAXIMIN LA SAINTE BAUME (FRANCE). At the end of the summer there are two important gastronomic-cultural events: THE FESTIVAL OF WINE AND BEER and the FESTIVAL OF PROVENCE AND TUSCANY.

 

SAN CARLO

This locality has been inhabitated for many centuries because of the mineral deposits. Now it is a sought-after place for holidays in touch with nature, where one can enjoy a stay in one of the many fine restored country homes that offer “agritourism” holidays.

One of the most important tourist attractions of San Carlo is the Buche Corsiche, composed of wells and caves that formed during the Mesozoic, some of which were also used for mining activity in past years.

San Carlo’s history has ancient origins. Findings of flint have led experts to trace its history back to the Paleolithic.

Because of the metal deposits, SAN CARLO was populated in different historical periods, from the Etruscans to the Romans, and up to the Middle Ages with the take-over of the CASTLE OF BISERNO by the Pisan Republic.

In 1500, with the decay of Pisa, the territories of San Carlo passed under Florentine rule, that is to say under the GRAND DUCHY OF TUSCANY, and were unified with the neighbouring district of CAMPIGLIA, until Italian unification. After the destruction of the CASTLE OF BISERNO by the Pisans and its abandonment by the population, SAN CARLO had no fixed inhabitated areas, but merely temporary settlements for the mining activity that focused on the numerous varieties of metal ore in the area, and for transhumance (livestock transfer from high altitude summer pasture to lowland winter pasture and vice-versa) from and to the surroundings of Pistoia, Carrara, Lucca, etc. The toponym of SAN CARLO did not appear in documents before 1872, and only 50 years later did SAN CARLO begin to take on its appearance as it is now, when the Belgian enterprise Solvay set up a plant and began working with thelimestone deposits scattered throughout the area. In 1949 the Municipality of SAN VINCENZO became independent together with SAN CARLO, which was its only built-up area on the hills. By 1950 the enterprise had developed an extensive plan for construction of houses for the quarry workers, the mountain colony, the cinema, etc. The subsequent industrial evolution, with the conversion from manual labour to mechanical operations, resulted in increasing unemployement in the community, and eventually led to the abandonment of SAN CARLO in favour of SAN VINCENZO. Today SAN CARLO has 400 inhabitants, for a total of 160 family units. After the ups and downs of the mining activity the territory of SAN CARLO has discovered its true vocation, the activity to which it is most genuinely suited: agritourism holidays in freedom and, most of all, communion with nature and enjoyment of the scenic beauties of the area, at the heart of a natural environment that in many places retains its pristine character. Indeed, SAN CARLO is surrounded on three sides byMediterranean brush vegetation, which is mainly composed of oaks, downy oaks, holm oaks, turkey oaks and cork oaks and strawberry trees, rhamnus alaternus, elms, etc.

MONTE CALVI, which rises nearby; is the highest mountain in the continental part of the province of Livorno, 646 metres above sea level. On its slopes you may be lucky enough to spot the rare wild orchid.

 

THE “CORBEZZOLO” (“STRAWBERRY TREE”) TRAIL

TRAIL CHARACTERISTICS AND TYPOLOGY

Total length of the trail: 15 kilometres

Total difference in altitude: 0-441 metres

Average walking time: whole trail (15 km) about 6/7 hours; starting from San Carlo for the panoramic view (7 km) about 4/5 hours.

 

FLORA: the whole trail winds through a vegetation composed of strawberry trees, holm oaks, oaks, turkey oaks, pines, etc, and Mediterranean brush vegetation.

FAUNA: all along the track you have a chance to meet the wild animals that live on this territory such as: pheasants, boars, hares, roe deer, foxes, wild cats, porcupines, etc; and in September/March the migratory feathered game abounds in the area, such as ouzels, song thrushes, chaffinches, jays, turtle doves, magpies, etc.

 

“woodland” trail over level ground that can be traveled on foot, on horseback or by riding mountain bikes. Difficulty level: 1 (easy). Length: 10.5 kilometres.

“woodland” trail over level and partly hilly land, with paths for walking only. Difficulty level: 2 (medium). Length: 3 kilometres.

“panoramic” climbing trail for hiking only, on foot. Difficulty level: 3 (difficult). Length; 1.5 kilometres.

 

For guided tours and information on the track contact the sports office of the Municipality of San Vincenzo (tel. 0565.707111) or the tourist information office (tel. 0565.701533)

WARNING: on the territory traversed by the trail hunting is practiced and consequently visitors are advised to be careful during the hunting season (SEPTEMBER-JANUARY).

 

The Municipal trail “IL CORBEZZOLO” winds its way entirely within the Municipality of SAN VINCENZO for about 15 kilometres , passing through the some of the historically and environmentally most interesting areas, from the seashore up to the inland hills 441 metres high.

The trail starts in SAN VINCENZO (precisely ACQUAVIVA), continuing into the BUFALARECCIA road until it joins the “VALLE DELLE ROZZE”. Following the “VALLE DELLE ROZZE” the trail reaches the hamlet of SAN CARLO, passing through the MONTALI, the “FORNI DELLE DISPENSE” and the “CAVA DI CAIOLINO”.

Once the hamlet of SAN CARLO is reached, several facilities can be found such ascoffee bars, restaurants, telephones, buses, taxi service, etc. Outside SAN CARLO, moving towards SAN BARTOLO street, in the locality LE FONTACCE, the trail once more enters a woodland area following the path that leads into the VALLE DEI MANIENTI, which in the past was a road linking SAN CARLO and CAMPIGLIA.

This trail leads to the territory of the “TERRE ROSSE” and runs along the “GINEPRAIE IN VAL DI GORI” wildlife and hunting area up to the “CASALE”. Once one enters the “VALLE DEI MAINETI”, going eastwards, it is possible to visit the ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND MINING PARK OF ROCCA SAN SILVESRO, which also offers a fine view of the “castle”.

From there on, the trail leaves the flatland wooded area and starts climbing towards the top of Mount MANIENTI, elevation 441 metres. Along its slopes, the trail twists through Mediterranean brush vegetation and gradually becomes steeper, until it reaches the “BUCA AL GRILLO”, the “BUCA AL SERPENTE” and the “SCALA SANTA”, from where you can enjoy an amazing landscape. The view stretches over the northern seacoast up to LIVORNO and along the southern seacoast down to FOLLONICA, eastwards over the whole chain of hills including MONTE CALVI and westwards towards the sea and the islands. The trail then turns south from the “MANIENTI” ridge and returns towards SAN VINCENZO.

 

Municipality of San Vincenzo

Environment-related education program

The Posidonia

The Oceanic Posidonia is not properly an algae but a marine plant found in the sea of the Mediterranean, similar in the aspect to the terrestrial graminaceae, constituted by roots, stem, leaves, flowers and fruits.

It is a delicate and precious inhabitant of our sea and:

it produces a huge quantity of oxygen. The remarkable growth of its leaves leads to a production of up to 14 litres of oxygen per day per square metre;

it guarantees quality and cleanness in our waters;

it is now protected and considered a qualifying element of the status of the environment (European Union Directive 42/93);

its presence together with its status constitute the parameters that provide information about the transparency of the water. It also slows down the wave motion, thus preserving the seacoast from erosion;

the new dark-green fresh sprouts replace the Posidonia dead leaves, which in turn are washed up on the beaches, where they constitute a valuable store of organic matter protecting the shoreline from erosion even during this last part of their biological cycle. The dead leaves scattered on the beach are then used by the municipality of San Vincenzo to enhance the sand dunes.

This ecosystem shapes an environment necessary for the reproduction and protection of the organisms at the bottom of the food chain, on which fish and cephalopods also depend.

 

Do not throw your rubbish on the beach or in the water, but value and protect these Posidonia leaves.