Tickets and tours
Compare hotels
1/2 day trip from Livorno
Add to your guide

What to see in Calci

Certosa di Calci

The Certosa di Calci was founded in 1366. It is 10km from Pisa and situated in a stunning natural valley which used to be known as ‘Valle Graziosa’, the ‘Charming Valley’.The Certosa di Calci is split into two main areas that reflect its use as a religious retreat of the Carthusian order both for solitary reflection and group activities: indivdual cells and the church. It was restructured to become how we see it today during the Baroque period and at the end of the 18th century. Many of the best 18th century artists also contributed to enriching La Certosa. Master stone workers from the Carrara region worked on the external façade and the interior which features many frescos, policrome marbling and linear works.The three cloisters are made beautiful by their arched ceilings and evocative, silent passage ways. At the centre there is a Renaissance garden with a central fountain that leads off to the cells of the Carthusian monks. These monks were famous for the patience and care they took while working on artistic, scientific and literary artifacts.The most recent monks to have inhabited the Certosa left in 1972 and since then the cells have been renonvated and are now open to visitors. Each cell has its own small garden and laboratory for manual work. Visitors can also tour the cloisters, the loggias, the refectory, the church and the library which is home to many ancient manuscripts and texts. The guest quarters, the oil press, the granary, the pharmacy and the prior and the Grand Duke’s apartments are also open to the public.
  • Address: Via Roma 79, Calci (PI)
  • Opening hours: La Certosa is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays fro m8.30am to 6.30pm. On Sundays and holidays it’s open from 8.30am to 12.30pm.
  • Price: 4 euro. €2,00 discounted ticket for: 18-25 years, EU citizens under 18 or over 65 and for school groups accompanied by a teacher.

Pieve di Calci

Interesting items in the church include the high altar built from Carrara marble, the 17th century lesser altars, the Madonna with Child between Saints Hermolaus and Francis, an 18th-century oil-painted altar-piece and a 12th century baptismal font consisting of four basins sculpted from a single block of marble and decorated with reliefs, produced by the school of Biduino.The church, dating from the late 11th century, was built as a result of the initiative of Archbishop Daiberto and completed thanks to the generosity of Countess Matilda of Tuscany. The Pisan Romanesque façade is divided by two tiers of blind arches. Decorations consist of geometric motifs that are typical of Pisan architecture. To the left of the church stands the thick, unfinished bell tower, built of stones and bricks. Up high on the same side is an antique head, possibly representing Jupiter Ammon. The interior is divided into a nave and two aisles by granite columns topped by Ionic and Corinthian capitals.
  • Address: Piazza della Propositura 4, Calci (PI)
  • Phone: (+39) 050 938010

Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio

The University of Pisa Natural History and Territorial Museum (Museo di storia naturale e del territorio) is housed in the monumental Certosa in the town of Calci. This ex-monastery has a rich history and is worth a visit in itself for its art and architecture. It’s possible to visit the Certosa separately from the museum.The museum’s collections can be found in the areas of ‘lesser importance’ in the Certosa, although they are in any case very interesting from an architectural and historical point of view. For example, the area which used to be the old olive mill is today the entrance to the museum and the warehouses are now an historical gallery.This museum was originally the brainchild of Ferdinando I dei Medici at the end of the sixteenth century. Today, it is run by the University of Pisa.More than just an exhibition space, the museum is also a research centre, which carries out studies into local natural history. The museum also runs a full didactic programme, from activities for visiting school groups, to refresher courses for teachers and professional training for the museums’ workers.There are many different ways to visit the museum. There are hundreds of zoological, mineral and fossil specimens on display, spread over about 4000 square metres of rooms and galleries on three floors. The material is displayed thematically, with the exception of temporary exhibitions.At the moment it’s possible to visit the Galleria storica (Historical Gallery), the new Galleria dei Minerali (Mineral Gallery) and Galleries dedicated to Reptiles, Amphibians, Carnivores, Xenarthras, Marsupials, Monotremes, Chiropterans, Insectivores, Primates and Cetaceans. Also open to the public is the ‘Vertebrati a confronto’ room (Vertebrates compared), the ‘Evoluzione dei Cetacei’ (the Evolution of the Cetaceans), a permanent exhibition entitled ‘C’era una volta l’uomo’ (Once upon a time there was man), the three-dimensional ‘Ritorno al passato’ (Back to the past) gallery which recounts 500 years of history of the Pisan Mountains and finally, the recently opened aquarium rooms.The museum is also proud to be home to the Regnoli Palaeontology Collection, previously on display in the University of Pisa.
  • Address: Via Roma 79, Calci (PI)
  • Phone: (+39) 050 2212970
  • Website: http://www.msn.unipi.it/default.aspx
  • Opening hours: Winter (September 16th-June 30th): Monday – Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday and public holidays 10am-7pmSummer (July 1st-September 15th): Monday – Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am-8pm.Closed on January 1st, December 25th.
  • Price: 7 euro. €3,50 discounted ticket for 6-18 years, over 65 yearsExtra discounts available for families, Coop members, Carta Giovani card holders and Edumusei card holders.Free for under 6 year olds, students, employees of the University of Pisa and those accompanying groups of students.

Rocca della Verruca di Calci

The fortress is located in the Municipality of Calci, in the Province of Pisa, atop a mountain which bears the same name, approximately 540 metres above sea level. It can be reached from the Pisa-Florence dual motorway, via the Navacchio exit; drivers should follow signs to Caprona. Park your car at Caprona and continue to walk along the path that leads up to the walls of the fortress. It can also be reached from the Florence-Pisa dual motorway; take the Cascina exit, by following signs to Vicopisano. From Calci, turn onto the so-called '’Strada della Verruca’ (Verruca Road) from the town’s cemetery. Although unpaved, the road is accessible for cars and drivers can reach the foot of the large rock which hosts the fortress (approximately, a 20-minute drive). Guided tours to the excavation sites are available from Vicopisano in July. Tours can be reserved at the Vicopisano Library.The fortress stands on the summit of Mount Verruca, on the eastern slopes of the Monti Pisani (537 metres above sea level). From there, it dominates the Pisan plain and follows the course of the River Arno. Thanks to its strategic location, it has always been a key element in Pisa’s strategies for defense during centuries characterized by bloody fights against Florence. The fortress allowed for visual triangulation between Pisa and Vicopisano Castle, which in turn. was connected to the Buti Castle and the entire area located at the foot of the Monti Pisani. According to historical documentation, settlements were present in the area as far back as 780, when the district was defended by a stronghold that was ideally located to control the Arno River and its surrounding plain. At the time this area, which stretched as far as the sea, was still marshland. The fortress has always been virtually impregnable for all the armies and rival powers that attempted to conquer and control the area. Several examples of this trend are noteworthy: in 1288, we can recall the war between the Pisan Guelphs and the Luccan army; we can also mention the German invasion by Ludwig of Bavaria in 1328. We can also note other episodes, like those in 1363, during the Florentine invasion, in 1369 after an invasion by the troops of Charles IV of Bohemia, and in 1375 after the invasion by the English troops led by John Hawkwood.In 1402, after the conquest of Pisa by the Florentines, the fortress was destroyed to prevent it from becoming a menace in the future. Florentine troops re-conquered Verruca on June 18, that same year, after a series of long and bloody clashes. The defeat represented a coup de grâce when it came to Pisa’s hopes for independence: the city definitively capitulated to Florence six years later. The fortress’s current appearance is the result of a series of reinforcement work carried out after a succession of wars. Verruca is considered an inhomogeneous structure—the result of various construction stages led by different architects. It has a pentagonal plan and includes two circular towers, restored in the 16th century, at the front and two angular bulwarks at the rear. The main gate retains a trilithic structure which bares traces of hinges and latches. The inside shows two construction levels - the upper one has suffered far greater damage than the lower one, which is completely underground. The walls are a rare example of a fortification built with loose stones instead of the bricks that were commonly employed at the time; cut stones were used in limited quantities, only for the corners.The structure’s oldest nucleus, built of verrucana stone, dates back to the 8th century. The main structure is known for its functional character. It encloses barracks and drill grounds, storehouses, a cistern and a church. Access entry-ways lead from the main fortress to its side bulwarks, which hosted rooms used for watching the surroundings or shooting the enemy. Slits for guns are still visible along the whole perimeter. An important discovery has been made in the fortress regarding an epigraph, preserved today in the National Museum of San Matteo. It is almost certainly the earliest document in ‘vulgar’ Italian, and it’s clearly dated ‘a dì dodici di giugno MCIII’ (12th of June, 1103).