Campiglia Marittima, between mines and fortresses
Campiglia Marittima is a pretty village on the Etruscan Coast in the province of Livorno, located about 8 kilometers from the sea. The town is located in a beautiful hilly position from which control the surrounding area and enjoy excellent panoramic views.
The area in which Campiglia Marittima rises was inhabited since the time of the Etruscans; these were the first to exploit the mining mineral resources in the area, such as copper, iron and lead. These mining activities continued during the Middle Ages and in the Grand-Ducal era, while in recent times the activities were more concentrated on limestone quarries. In this regard, it is worth visiting the Parco archeominerario di San Silvestro, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the town.
The toponym Campillia is documented for the first time in 1004, while the Marittima specification was added only in 1862.
In medieval times, the village has developed in relation to its castle which was originally the counts of the Gherardesca, then passed under the control of Pisa until 1406, when the city of the leaning tower surrendered to Florence that used the Rocca di Campiglia as an important military outpost.
Things to do in Campiglia Marittima
Campiglia Marittima is a very pleasant hamlet that has well preserved its urban layout made of tortuous and irregular roads that rise and fall along the hill. Ideal both for a targeted visit and as a base to explore the beautiful surrounding area, Campiglia presents several points of interest, let’s see what they are:
- Walls and city gates of Campiglia
- Museo d’Arte Sacra
- Propositura di San Lorenzo
- Palazzo Pretorio
- Rocca di Campiglia
Walls and city gates of Campiglia
As we said, Campiglia Marittima has also had a military function and it is no coincidence therefore if even today you can admire large tracts of its defensive walls. The access to the village, even today, is guaranteed by some historic city gates: the main one is the so-called Porta a Mare (or Porta a Ribellino) which is located along the south side with the Porta a Mezzogiorno. On the north side, however, there are the Porta Pisana and the Porta Fiorentina; the latter is characterized by the presence of four coats of arms: that of the Della Gherardesca family, the Pisa cross, the lily of Florence and the rampant dog of Campiglia.
Museo d’Arte Sacra
Inaugurated in 2003, the Museo d’Arte Sacra of Campiglia Marittima is located a few steps from Porta a Mare, in a space located below the church of San Lorenzo that was brought to light thanks to the archaeological excavations in 1991. The museum collects liturgical and devotional objects owned by the ancient Propositura di Campiglia Marittima dating back to the 16th-19th centuries; here we find silvers, statues, paintings, vestments, reliquaries and stone artefacts. Of particular interest are a 13th century diphoric column, a bronze Christ, perhaps works by Antonio Susini, a pupil of Giambologna, and the painting Ecce Homo (1652) by Alessandro Frigoni.
Address: via della Libertà 15
Opening hours: summer Monday-Friday 18-20; Saturday-Sunday 21-23
Propositura of San Lorenzo
After crossing the Porta a Mare, you’ll reach the Propositura di San Lorenzo. Already documented in medieval times, the church has undergone several changes over the centuries; inside there are some valuable works like Madonna with Child attributed to the Master of San Torpè, the wooden group of the Annunciation and Saints Lorenzo and Antonio who adore the Virgin by Jacopo Vignali.
From the left transept of the church, you enter the eighteenth-century oratorio della Misericordia where you can admire some paintings Stories of the Passion of Christ, and other works including a wooden crucifix of the late seventeenth century.
Not far from the church, just beyond Piazza della Repubblica, we find the Palazzo Pretorio. You can easily recognize it thanks to the numerous coats of arms on the façade. Built in the thirteenth century and subsequently enlarged, today the Palazzo Pretorio houses the Archivio Storico del Comune di Campiglia (Historical Archive of the Municipality), the permanent exhibition dedicated to the painter and xylographer Carlo Guarnieri, a native of Campiglia, and the Museo del Minerale (Mineral Museum).
Rocca of Campiglia
Built from the eleventh century, the Rocca di Campiglia dominates the village from the highest point of the hill. Widened several times over the centuries, the fortress occupies a semi-circular area and includes some structures including the formwork, the cistern, part of an imposing crenellated wall and a twentieth-century aqueduct.
In 2008, following the archaeological excavations conducted by the University of Siena, the Museo della Rocca was inaugurated here. This museum, which exposes the finds found during the excavation phase, takes care of reconstructing the various historical phases of this fortress, also making use of interesting didactic panels.
Openings: every day from morning to sunset
Places to visit in the surroundings of Campiglia Marittima
- Pieve di San Giovanni
- Parco Archeominerario e Rocca di San Silvestro
- Terme di Venturina
Pieve di San Giovanni
Just outside the town of Campiglia, in a southerly direction, lies the beautiful Pieve di San Giovanni. A typical example of Pisan Romanesque architecture, this parish church has some elements of great interest, such as the lintel of the side portal, where we find a scene of hunting wild boar that symbolizes the victory of Christ over the devil.
Parco Archeominerario and Rocca di San Silvestro
If you go through these parts you can not miss the Parco Archeominerario (Archeominerary Park) and the Rocca di San Silvestro: it is an area of great landscape impact where you can visit the remains of the ancient castle of San Silvestro and also a mine.
Tuscany land of castles, churches and … spas! Venturina Terme is a small village near Campiglia Marittima that has a long thermal tradition behind it, being known for its waters since the time of the Etruscans. Here a 36 ° water source flows with a flow rate of 12,000 liters per minute, feeding a large thermal pool.