This charming medieval town located uphill in the area known as Val di Cecina, in the province of Pisa, dates back from the 11th century. The name has its origins in Latin, from the word “Scutarius” which means “shield maker” and used to be a family name either in the Ancient Rome. In fact it had a large military importance for its position on the top of a hill.
A Benedictine monastery has been founded in the town in the 11th century, from where Montescudaio begins, to which belonged the well preserved Church of Saint Andrew, the only part of the monastery that survived from wars and politics. For a long time, the Castle has been a feud of the Counts “Della Gherardesca”, a noble family from the Settimio di Pisa branch.
The “Della Gherardesca” have betrayed first Pisa, and after that, Florence, helping the king Alfonso d’Aragone, from Naples to invade the area, during the 15th century. Florence wanted the revenge and after that the Counts of Montescudaio have lost their power and also Montescudaio has fallen under the domain of the Medici, Grand Dukes of Tuscany, along the 16th century.
The most interesting cultural attraction inside the medieval town is the Sacred Art Museum, recently reopened in the old vicarage of the Ascended Virgin Mary. It is a small but very interesting museum of Sacred furniture, holding pieces like goblets, drapes, sheets used in the old monastery in the past, many of them were pieces hand made by the nuns themselves.
The medieval town is considered one of the most beautiful “Borghi” (fortified towns) in Italy. More than its historical importance and preserved buildings and city walls, it offers also delicious wine bars, restaurants and cafes, where to enjoy the local peaceful atmosphere and specially to taste the local product: Montescudaio D.O.C. wine. There are both red and white Montescudaio wines. The base vines for the red one is the Sangiovese while the white wine is made basically of Trebbiano Toscano, both are typical grapes from Tuscany.
The Tuscan bread is another protagonist of the typical local products, used as basic ingredient in many typical dishes like “pappa la pomodoro” (tomato soup); “ribollita” (vegetables soup); “crostini di milza e fegatini” (toasted bread with liver patè) and so on. From the paths among the medieval buildings and from the terraces of many restaurants it is possible to enjoy stunning views from the ocean, the Islands of Elba, Capraia, Giglio and Montecristo.
The town remains only 12 km from the coast. The closest beach is Marina di Cecina, an exciting complex of sandy beaches fully equipped with many establishments and delicious restaurants. For those who are looking for a vacation on the beach, there are also two nice beaches close by: Vada, to the north and Bibbona to the South, both are very clean sandy beaches, with limpid water and environmentally certified.
VISIT OUR VILLAS CLOSE TO MONTESCUDAIO:
Stella di Mare
Casetta al Mare
Villa Santa Maria
Villa del Licino