Lari, Volterra & Bolgheri
The small town of Lari, inhabited since Etruscan times is situated where three hilltops meet in the Pisan hills. The castle looms over the town center and originally dates back to the Medieval era, though most of the present structure dates back to the mid-seventeenth century. This castle was an important military garrison for the Pisan Republic due to its dominating position over the whole of the Valdarno area - the view goes from the Pisan hills to Volterra and from the Livornese coast to beyond Peccioli. It is protected by a defensive wall with three entrances: The Porta Fiorentina, the Porta Pisana and the Porta Volterrana. The latter used to be the main entrance to the town and had a drawbridge which was removed in 1798. It is possible to visit the undergrounds and the prisons of the castle, the legend says, still haunted by the ghost of Rosso Della Paola imprisoned here for his political opinions.
It is an Etruscan settlement with finds that date back to the IX century BC. The walls and the splendid dominating position made the town easily defendable, as proved by being the last Etruscan center to suffer the military and cultural domination by the Romans. In the V century, the main public buildings and the last of the city walls were constructed while the divisions between the Guelph and Ghibelline families favored the advent of the Florentine domination, making it an important military center in the struggle against Siena. To strengthen the defensive structures the Medici built a fortress: today such a structure, shows obvious signs of all historic periods making Volterra a true open air museum. The walls and the gates are of the Etruscan period, the archaeological area with the Theatre and Roman Forum, the Palazzo Dei Priori (the oldest public building in Tuscany), the Municipal Palazzo, the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the walls are from the Medieval period.
Renown for being inspiration to famous Italian poet, Giosuè Carducci that moved here in 1839, Bolgheri’s history dates further back in the middle ages when the lord of the lands of Maremma, Gherardo della Gherardesca built it in the strategic position around the Rocca di Gherardo della Gherardesca.
Its’ fabulous position attracted Florence’s attention and interest and was besieged by it in 1369.
Main interests: Castello di Bolgheri located at the end of the famous Viale dei Cipressi (Cypress Boulevard) that unwinds for 4,7 KMs for a total of 2434 cypress trees!