The castle of Serrazzano is a remote small village in the Colline Metallifere (the Metal Hills), in Tuscany.
It is one of several hamlets that belong to the municipality of Pomarance, in "the Land of Green Energy",
in the province of Pisa.

Remote and fortified,
at the northest end of Maremma, west of Siena,
Serrazzano sits on a hilltop
that dominates the land
between Volterra and the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The land of Colline Metallifere, with its gentle hills and pristine environment, is one of the most charming, unpopulated and unspoiled areas of Tuscany, and Italy.
Out-of-the-way of the regular flow of mass tourism that crowds the most popular Italian cities, this area has remained pristine and has a wealth of resources for those who value nature “as is”.
The air is exceptionally clean and silence is pervasive. Forests and wildlife are protected and undisturbed. People are friendly but tend to keep to themselves.
The territory is characterized by vast areas of forests that cover most of the Colline Metallifere and are traversed by water courses in a completely natural state. The remaining of the land is occupied by areas for grazing, by vinyards and by olive and chesnut groves.
The area is also characterized by some fascinating natural geothermal features (fumaroles, pools, blow-holes, thermal springs) and by Etruscan and Roman archaeological remains.

The area was called "le Colline Metallifere" (Metal Hills) because of the abundance of minerals – no longer extracted - that, among other uses, provided the Medicis with the stones that embellished their palaces and villas.
Nowadays, this area is also known as the “Land of Green Energy” because of the geothermal resources that are used to produce electrical energy, provide heating to households in nearby villages and dot the landscape with a network of steam-pipes, power stations and cooling towers that, although they might bring to mind the perils of nuclear energy, are absolutely harmless and echo-friendly. In fact, the old cooling towers, like the ones that can be seen from Serrazzano - veritable pieces of industrial archaelogy - you'll find very beautiful especially if you can get to see their interior structure of stacked hardwood.

South-West view from Villa Beltrami, in Serrazzano, in a morning in June.
On the horizon, in the distance, is the Thyrrenian sea and the island of Elba.
Close by, the air is filled with the shrieks of swallows (those tiny spots in the sky) hovering over the village.

The historic center of Serrazzano, known as il Castello (the Castle), is a complex of about two dozen buildings that in ancient times comprised an oil mill, grain storage, wine cellars and water tanks, to survive possible sieges.
It also housed a few inhabitants, including the guards - stationed in the Caserma - and the noble family of the Falconcini who owned the land surrounding the village.
The historic center is accessed on foot through one of three gates that in ancient times were closed at sunset.

After climbing some narrow streets wide just enough to allow the passage of a donkey with its burden, one reaches the heart of the historic center, piazza della Cisterna, which features a new fountain attached to an old well that is no longer used.
The piazza is also known as piazza della Chiesa because of the nearby Church of San Donato, a Gothic edifice that sits at the highest point in Serrazzano (550 meters above sea level).
On the north side of the piazza is the large building that used to be the residence of the Falconcini.

Today, known as Villa Beltrami, the building – now a condominium - is included in the National Registry of Architecural and Historic Protected Sites because of its architectural, historic and anthropological values.

Besides the frescoes (some from the eighteenth century) that adorn the rooms of the building and the internal structure that reveals its evolution from a sighting tower to a wealthy landowner residence, Villa Belrami has several other extraordinary features. Like the large vaulted water reservoir (15' x 25' wide and over 12' high) that - further studies are needed - seems to be fed by a spring underneath the church. That would explain why Serrazzano was selected for dwelling in the first place.

Porta Assunta


Porta Spina (at sunset)

Villa Beltrami
seen while approaching piazza della Cisterna.
The topmost window, on the left,
is part of the guests' apartment.

La Ruga

Piazza della Cisterna