Tuscany Planet
Tuscany Planet

Guardistallo in the province of Pisa

Guide to the discovery of Guardistallo

Guardistallo is a pleasant hamlet in the province of Pisa which is located in the hinterland of the Etruscan Coast about 13 kilometers from the sea. The center is located in a hilly area (278 meters above sea level) in an area that has been inhabited since prehistoric times. At the beginning of the twentieth century, in fact, some tombs dating back to the third millennium BC were found here; inside these tombs there were many finds including axes, copper daggers and arrowheads that are now preserved at the Guarnacci Museum in Volterra.

We have no news of Guardistallo in Roman times while from the toponym we can guess that the foundation dates back to the Lombard period. The name Guardistallo in fact came from two Germanic words: “warda” (guard) and “stall” (place). In medieval times the village was part of the domains of the Counts of Gherardesca who had a castle here until, in 1154, it was donated to the bishop of Volterra.

After a long period in which Guardistallo was in the orbit of Pisa, in 1406 it became part of the domains of Florence. In the Grand Ducal era it was granted in fief to the Marquis Ginori together with the territories of Cecina, Riparbella, Casale and Bibbona.

During the Second World War, Guardistallo distinguished itself as a center of Resistance and for this it suffered a harsh retaliation from the German soldiers who in June 1944 killed 63 people, mostly civilians. Thanks to the courage shown by its inhabitants, in 1996 the Municipality of Guardistallo was decorated with the bronze medal for military merit and in 1997 with the bronze medal for civil valor.

Chiesa dei Santi Lorenzo e Agata in Guardistallo
Chiesa dei Santi Lorenzo e Agata (Photo by Tyrrhenus / CC BY)

What to see in Guardistallo

  • Chiesa dei santi Lorenzo e Agata
  • Teatro Marchionneschi
  • Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine
  • Monastero di Nostra Signora di Valserena

Among the most interesting things to see in Guardistallo is the Chiesa dei Santi Lorenzo e Agata. The present church is the result of the reconstruction of 1870 that took place after the earthquake that in 1846 devastated many buildings including the old church and the castle of which today only a few traces remain. Another building worthy of interest is the Teatro Marchionneschi; inaugurated on 11 August 1883, this theater is appreciated for its excellent acoustics and is used for shows of various kinds but also as a venue for conferences and workshops. Among the main monuments of the town we also find the Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine and the Monastero di Nostra Signora di Valserena, seat of a community of nuns belonging to the Cistercian order.

Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine in Guardistallo
Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine (Photo by Sailko / CC BY)

Events and traditions in Guardistallo

The area of Guardistallo is known for the production of olive oil and in the spring in the town is organized the Sagra della Crogiantina, which from other parts of Tuscany is known as “fettunta”, a toasted bread seasoned with garlic and raw oil. At Christmas time instead, Guardistallo becomes the paese dei mille presepi (country of the thousand nativity scenes) that are set up by the inhabitants along the streets and in the squares.

Places to visit near Guardistallo

In the vicinity of Guardistallo there are several interesting countries to visit. Among these we mention Montescudaio, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hamlets in the entire province of Pisa, Riparbella and Casale Marittimo.

How to get to Guardistallo

By car: Guardistallo is located about 70 kilometers away from Pisa. To reach the center by car, take the A12 motorway to the Cecina Centro exit and then continue on the provincial road to destination (last 9 km).

By train: the nearest railway station is Cecina, from there you will need to continue by bus (for info CTT Nord Livorno)

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