Scattered in the relaxingly green landscape, prestigious romanesque parish churches bear witness to our past’s religious and spiritual history. Countless churches located in secluded countryside corners, nestled in a suggestive scenery, stand lone in an atmosphere of particular spirituality.
Each building is worth a visit for its artistic prestige and its historical value. Examples include the baroque-like church of San Pietro Apostolo in the small borough of Libbiano, where past and present live in harmony. In the chapel of Santa Caterina in Legoli, on a hill surrounded by fir trees, remarkable frescoes from 1479 enclosed in four alcoves, bear witness to Benozzo Gozzoli’s journey through this countryside, when he escaped from Pisa after the plague.
Also interesting is Palaia with its Pieve di San Martino, a national monument which periodically hosts important singing and musical festivals. Equally prestigious is the romanic parish of Santa Maria Assunta di Fabbrica, which houses Della Robbia’s vivacious pottery. In Capannoli, one of the most remarkable features is the architectonic building of SS. Annunziata, built around the XV century.
On the opposite side of Valdera, the one overlooking the sea, we can find the peculiar parish of San Donato di Chianni. It offers just a small doorway enclosed between the walls and the pavement of the piazza. Just the apsis stands tall over the countryside below. Underneath, like a crypt, there is the Chiesa della Compagnia, which appears to have been the castle’s armory. Since 1500 the building has been dedicated to religious cult, under the name of Chiesa della Compagnia della SS. Annunziata. Part of the terracotta flooring and a headstone are what is left of the original structure. The modern appareance of the building comes from the XVIII century, when it was restored by the architect Giacomo Donati and frescoed by Domenico Tempesti between 1739 and 1741.
Where the natural vegetation advertises the vicinity of the sea, the Fort of Pietracassia with its magnificent lines dominates the hills. In addition, there are prestigious contemporary artworks which, in recent years, have enriched the artistic heritage in Peccioli and Terricciola.
This blend between antique and modern embellishes Valdera, giving it one more reason not to be forgotten.