Casale Marittimo, a tuscan hilltop hamlet overlooking the sea
Located on a hill 214 meters above sea level, Casale Marittimo enjoys a panoramic position a few kilometers from the sea; on clear days, from here you can even admire the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago such as Elba, Capraia and Gorgona.
Casale is a typical Tuscan hilltop hamlet of medieval origin. Walking among its irregular lanes, between stone houses and ancient buildings, it will seem to make a dive into the past. The village is really very pleasant to visit, in fact it is no coincidence that it can boast of the prestigious “Bandiera Arancione” of the Italian Touring Club that certifies its environmental quality and excellent tourist accommodation.
The area where Casale Marittimo is located has been inhabited since ancient times. Here lived an Etruscan community as witnessed by some tombs dating back to the 7th and 6th centuries BC, while the Roman presence in the area is documented by the remains of two villas.
In medieval times the center was known as a castle at least since 1004 when it was part of the possessions of the Counts of Gherardesca. In 1406 Casale became part of the domains of Florence and then became a fief of the Ridolfi family in 1684 before becoming part of the marquisate of Riparbella in 1738.
The name Casale Marittimo is rather “recent” since it dates back to 1900, before the center was known as “Casale nelle Maremme” or as “Casale in Val di Cecina”.
Things to do in Casale Marittimo
With its well-preserved historic center, well-kept countryside and a beautiful cultural and gastronomic heritage, Casale Marittimo has started to attract visitors from all over the world and today tourism has become one of the main development sectors of this municipality in the province of Pisa.
Let’s see together what are the main things to see in Casale Marittimo:
Etruscans in Casale Marittimo
As we said, the area where Casale Marittimo is located was once inhabited by the Etruscans. The main archaeological site linked to this ancient civilization is that of the Etruscan Necropolis of Casa Nocera where tombs from the 7th century BC were found with rich funeral kits attributable to those who were to be the masters of the time. Equally interesting is the thòlos tomb discovered in the locality of Poggiarella (currently in the Archaeological Museum of Florence) which has been dated to the 5th century BC. A further confirmation of the Etruscan presence in the area comes from the excavations of the Casalvecchio hill that have brought to light the remains of a village dating back to the 7th century BC. If you want to learn something about this ancient civilization, these places will certainly interest you.
The castle of Casale Marittimo was in the past an important defense of the coast and the surrounding valley; today the term “castello” identifies the heart of the historic center of the village. Walking through the streets of Casale, you can see some elements of the castle that, in particular the defensive walls, which over time have been incorporated into the urban fabric.
Casa del Camarlingo
The Casa del Camarlingo is one of the oldest buildings in the village and is located near the Clock Tower. The Camarlingo was a leading figure as he was a treasurer and was in charge of collecting taxes on behalf of the feudal lord.
Palazzo della Canonica
Built in 1940 using materials from the Roman villa of Casale Marittimo, the Palazzo della Canonica is one of the most interesting buildings to visit in the village. Inside there is the so-called “Roman room” where various finds from the villa are collected, including a mosaic floor and various colored stucco fragments.
Churches in Casale Marittimo
Among the churches of Casale Marittimo stand out the Church of Sant’Andrea which was built in 1874 in place of a previous medieval church destroyed by the earthquake of 1871, the chapel of the Madonna delle Grazie, and the graceful Oratory of San Sebastiano which in 1937 was restored using materials from the Roman villa.
What to see near Casale Marittimo
Casale Marittimo is located in a pleasant hilly area just 12 kilometers from the sea. Nearby there are some villages like Montescudaio and Guardisallo that surely deserve to be taken into consideration when traveling here.
How to get to Casale Marittimo
Public transport: the nearest railway station is Cecina; from there you can reach Casale by taking a bus (CTT Nord Livorno bus lines).
By car: Casale is about 70 kilometers away from Pisa. The quickest way to reach it from the capital is via the A12 to the Cecina Centro exit; from there follow the indications on SP14 to destination.