Discover Terre di Pisa: A Wine Tourism Gem in Tuscany

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Terre di Pisa view from Podere la Chiesa wInery

Terre di Pisa is one of Italy’s newest and most exciting DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) wine appellations, and it is waiting to be discovered.

This geographical area is ideal for wine tourism, especially in spring or fall. Sadly, most visitors to the region limit their visits to the over-touristed city of Pisa (which has the same name as the province) to see the iconic Leaning Tower. 

However, a road trip to explore the larger region called Terre di Pisa (literally the lands of Pisa) offers opportunities to travel slowly, escape (or totally avoid) the crowds of Italian cities, taste extraordinary wines, savor typical Tuscan cuisine, and soak in landscapes in the Tuscan countryside that are as stunning as the Napa Valley in California or the Douro Valley in Portugal.

Experience Authentic Tuscan Hospitality

Nicola Cantoni, President of the Terre di Pisa Wine Consortium
Nicola Cantoni, President of the Terre di Pisa Wine Consortium

In Terre di Pisa, visitors can meet passionate winemakers and producers on the cusp of a new frontier of wine tourism. They are warm and welcoming in tasting rooms, ancient wine cellars, wine shops, or vineyard walks. 

They eagerly share their multi-generational family stories and explain how hyper-local approaches to perfecting fine wines are shaped by the contours of their land and centuries of history and tradition.

The Wines of Terre di Pisa

In Terre di Pisa, Sangiovese is the “king grape” of the region
In Terre di Pisa, Sangiovese is the “king grape” of the region

Terre di Pisa’s wines vary, ranging from reds to whites, rosés, and sparkling wines. Established in 2011, the Terre di Pisa DOC appellation includes Terre di Pisa Bianco, Terre di Pisa Vermentino, Terre di Pisa Rosato, Terre di Pisa Rosso, and Terre di Pisa Sangiovese.

Sangiovese is the “king grape” of the region. One of Italy’s best red wine grapes, it is known for making Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines of Tuscany. 

Most high-quality wines with the Terre di Pisa DOC label are reds with at least 95% Sangiovese grapes. Winemakers also produce interesting blends with international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.

Terre di Pisa: A Unique Terroir

Shells collected at Podere La Chiesa in Terricola, Terre di Pisa
Shells collected at Podere La Chiesa in Terricola, Terre di Pisa

Terre di Pisa is blessed with sandy soil rich in limestone and clay. Millions of years ago, the land was part of the ocean, and it’s common to see whole seashells as you walk among the vineyards. Some winemakers even find marine fossils under the soil dating back to this heritage.

The hills and valleys of Terre di Pisa are conducive to viniculture because of the area’s temperate climate. The area affords warm days, cool nights, moderate rainfall, and year-round ocean breezes from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea. The wines offer minerality and salinity.

In 2018, 10 producers formed the Terre di Pisa Wine Consortium to raise awareness and promote the quality of these wines. In 2024, the number of participants grew to 19.

Each piece of land is different in terms of soil composition and climate, which gives rise to different varietals. However, the wine producers in Terre di Pisa are uniformly passionate about making the best wine possible in their terroir and ensuring that their land remains sustainable. 

Pisa Beyond The Grape

Tree-lined road in La Sterza , a frazione of Terricciola
Tree-lined road in La Sterza , a frazione of Terricciola

The province covers some 945 square miles and includes 13 municipalities: Fauglia, Crespina Lorenzana, Casciana Terme Lari, Chianni, Capannoli, Palaia, Peccioli, Ponsacco, Pontedera, Terricciola, Montopoli in Val D’arno, Orciano Pisano, and Santa Luce.

Wine tourists can meander the two-lane roads traversing the countryside by car and discover this less-traveled province’s cultural, historical, and epicurean riches.

You’ll need to rent a car to get around, but getting there is easy. International travelers can arrive through Pisa International Airport (Galileo Galilei Airport, named after the famous scientist born in Pisa). Visitors can also arrive at Pisa Centrale station from Florence via high-speed train in about 45 minutes. 

Auto rentals are available at both the airport and train station.

Four Must-Visit Towns and Villages

There are so many different directions to travel, but these are some of the towns that shouldn’t be missed:

San Miniato

Truffle hunting with Massimo Cucchiara nd his dog, Mela, in San Miniato
Truffle hunting with Massimo Cucchiara nd his dog, Mela, in San Miniato

Perched on three small hills with scenic views of the vineyards, San Miniato is probably best known for its white truffles, which are celebrated at a National White Truffle Festival held each November. 

We visited the Beconcini Winery, located beside the ancient Via Francigena, a route used by pilgrims and crusaders to reach Rome on their way to the Holy Land.

Leonardo Beconcini, a fourth-generation winemaker, arranged a tasting of his wines. We also had the unique opportunity to hunt with San Miniato-born truffle hunter Massimo Cucchiara (Truffle in Tuscany) and learn about the region’s truffle traditions. 

Pontedera

Shop window in Pontedera, the Vespa was popularized in the movie, Roman Holiday
Shop window in Pontedera, the Vespa was popularized in the movie “Roman Holiday”

Pontedera is the birthplace of the iconic Vespa motor scooter and the location of its historic Piaggio factory and museum, Museo Piaggio. Before World War II, the factory employed some 12,000 workers. Afterward, many went to work in the area’s wineries before the introduction of the Vespa, which revitalized the factory.

[A lovely Piaggio biopic now streaming tells the story of Vespa, which is well worth seeing.]

Corso Matteotti, the lively, pedestrian-friendly shopping street has many interesting gift and specialty shops. We highly recommend a stop at Angiolini Cioccolato for its delicious chocolate, pastry and gelato offerings.

Peccioli

The colorful art city of Peccioli was named the most beautiful village (borgo) in Italy in 2024. From the moment you approach the medieval village, you can see why.

Endless Sunset is a panoramic walkway by Patrick Tuttofuoco that links the center of the small medieval village to the new areas of the town.
Endless Sunset is a panoramic walkway by Patrick Tuttofuoco that links the small medieval village’s center to the town’s new areas
Eyes of the citizens of Peccioli by Vittorio Corsini
Photos of the eyes of the citizens of Peccioli on a wall in the town, by Vittorio Corsini
One of the oversized statues that emerges from the earth in Peccioli, representing the strength of the territory's regeneration
One of the oversized sculptures that emerges from the earth on top of the landfill in Peccioli, represents the strength of the territory’s regeneration

The Open Air Museum of Contemporary Art has placed more than 70 stunning installations, part of a collection that continues to grow. Palazzo Senza Tempo’s spectacular terrace offers views of the surrounding Tuscan hills.

Be sure to pick up a visitor’s guide explaining the art and artists represented.

Ghizzano

Some of the painted houses of Ghizzano, Terre di Pisa
Some of the colorful painted houses of Ghizzano, Terre di Pisa

I was first introduced to the name of this village, Ghizzano, when I ordered pasta (produced there) at a restaurant in New York. 

This small village with colorful painted walls and larger-than-life sculptures has an estimated population of just over 300 people. Guests can visit Giardino Sonoro, the extraordinary Italianate Garden of the Pesciolini family, by appointment.

Other Notable Sites

Bocelli Teatro di Silencio in Lajatico
Bocelli Teatro di Silencio in Lajatico
  • Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, hometown of tenor Andrea Bocelli.
  • The Roman Theater and Baths in Volterra.
  • The sandy beaches of Marina di Pisa.

Terre di Pisa Wineries That Host Guests

Instead of large cookie-cutter hotels, area wineries offer rustic farm-like accommodations that are restored rather than remodeled to preserve their Tuscan history and ambiance.

These small agriturismos serve as a base for visiting some of the more than 40 wineries in the region or excursions to nearby towns and villages.

Badia di Morrona

The 600-acre Badia di Morrona estate offers tours, tastings of its wines and EVO olive oil, and visits to a historic Benedictine abbey. Restored farmhouses, each surrounded by greenery and equipped with swimming pools, serve as accommodations.

Pool at Baddia di Morrona
Pool at Badia di Morrona

Castelvecchio Societa’Agricola

Tasting room at Castelvecchio
Part of the tasting room at Castelvecchio

Located in Terricciola, Castelvecchio Societa’Agricola is a family-run winery with 10 hectares of vineyards managed by women. It offers cellar visits, tastings paired with local foods, and accommodations in restored farm buildings with views of the hills.

Fattoria Varramista

Ancient villa at the Piaggio-Agnelli Estate in Podadera
Ancient villa at the Piaggio-Agnelli Estate in Montopoli

Fattoria di Varramista in Montopoli features an ancient villa once owned by the Piaggio-Agnelli family. The estate offers tours, tastings, and accommodations in farmhouses surrounded by olive groves.

Villa Cosmiana

Beautifully restored 17th-century Villa Cosmiana in Peccioli
Beautifully restored 17th-century Villa Cosmiana in Peccioli

Situated in Peccioli, the 17th-century neoclassical villa, Villa Cosmiana, and gardens were restored to preserve their historical and artistic legacy. The winery offers tastings, tours, and accommodations in suites within the villa and the Fattoria.

Villa Saletta

Villa Saletta, located in a medieval village, is a modern boutique winery with a history dating back to 980 AD. It offers wine tastings, guided tours, and accommodations in renovated villas.

Pieve de’ Pitti

The Pieve de’ Pitti winery in Terricola offers tours, tastings, and creative cooking courses. Accommodations are available in a large farmhouse surrounded by vineyards or in self-catering apartments.

Tenuta di Ghizzano

Italianate garden at Tenuta Ghizzano
Italianate garden at Tenuta (farm) Ghizzano

An organic and biodynamic farm in Peccioli, Tenuta di Ghizzano, offers tastings, tours, and personalized visits. Accommodations are available in a contemporary farmhouse. The owner, Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini, is the vice president of the Terre di Pisa Consortium.

Palaie

Wine tasting at Le Palaie in Pecchioli
Wine tasting at Le Palaie in Pecchioli, a modern winery with photovoltaic panels on the roof

Le Palaie farm in Peccioli offers tastings, cellar visits, and special event hosting. Accommodations include renovated apartments and independent houses.

Fattoria di Fibbiano

Views from ppol at Fattoria di Fibbiano in the classical Terre di Pisa DOC production area
View from pool at Fattoria di Fibbiano in the classical Terre di Pisa DOC production area

Fattoria di Fibbiano in Terricola offers tastings, tours, and various activities such as Vespa adventures and cooking lessons. Accommodations are available in apartments with panoramic views.

Podere la Chiesa

Ultra-contemporary Podere La Chiesa in Pisan Hills with grape representation on the facade
Ultra-contemporary Podere La Chiesa in Pisan Hills with grape representation on the facade
The vines and lush landscape at Podere La Chiesa
The vines and lush landscape at Podere La Chiesa

Podere La Chiesa in Terricciola is known for its contemporary architecture and rich, one-million-year-old soil in the surrounding Tuscan countryside. It offers guided tours, tastings, and accommodations close to a Michelin-starred restaurant in the nearby village of Casanova.

Before You Go: Last But Not Least

PIazza di Miracoli from above
PIazza di Miracoli from above

Whether visitors are walking, bicycling, or driving, they’ll be dazzled by the breathtaking views and Terre di Pisa’s cultural, artistic, and historical heritage.

But don’t forget to spend half a day visiting The Leaning Tower at the Piazza dei Miracoli, the region’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Map of Terre di Pisa (courtesy tourism bureau)

Map of Terre di Pisa
Map of Terre di Pisa

READ MORE

Wine Travel Guide for Florence & Tuscany (an excellent online resource)


Photo credits: Jerome Levine


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