The Valdinievole Olive Oil, Villages and Casles Trail extends through the hills of Uzzano Castello, touching the medieval villages of Massa and Cozzile, with its characteristic castle. The trail also includes the municipalities of Uzzano, Borgo Buggiano and Massa e Cozzile, winding through hills dotted with olive trees growing on terraces, small forests and country homes, typical of the rural landscape.
The villages of Uzzano Castello, La Costa, Stignano, Buggiano, Colle and Massa e Cozzile, with their parish churches, are nestled among the hills and sit adjacent to the larger towns of Santa Lucia, Borgo Buggiano and Margine Coperta, which, despite being of relatively recent origin, developed around the country road that links the towns of Pescia and Montecatini, making the territory unique. The railway connecting Florence and Viareggio runs along the foot of the hills, offering train travelers the chance to admire the territory in all its beauty and vastness.
As you travel this road, you will have the chance to visit historic town centres and agricultural businesses and taste olive oil and local food specialties in restaurants and agritourisms throughout the area.
The proximity to Montecatini Terme is also important for those who want to add a something different and classic to their trip.
Uzzano is a typical medieval village, nestled in the mountains like a precious jewel. Immersed in the surrounding olive groves, it dominates above the plain below. The castle in Uzzano, like many others of its kind, were built as defense structures and lookouts; even if the town wasn’t built on the peak of the hill, it was nonetheless an excellent observation point over the Valdinievole, Monte Pisano and the valley to the east of Lucca. Despite being a village like any other, Uzzano is unique because together with nearby castles, it was part of a systematic fortified system.
Borgo a Buggiano dates to the 6th century. From Buggiano Castello, you can admire a beautiful landscape. Amongst the monuments worth seeing, there are the Church of SS. Crocifisso and Palazzo Pretorio as well as, moving down towards Stignano, Porta Roma and the Church of Sant’Andrea.
Massa e Cozzile was divided into three hamlets in Antiquity: Verruca, Massa and Cozzile. Still today, the coat of arms shows the symbols of each of these communities: the cross of Verruca, the lily of Cozzile and the mace of Massa. The oldest of these hamlets is Massa, whose origins can be traces to a farm in late-Antiquity. The fortified village had three gates named "Porta Pieri” to the north, “Porta ai Campi” to the south and “Porta Fontana” to the west: the latter two are still standing.
The main product is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Toscano PGI, which according to the official guidelines, is made by pressing olives produced from Frantoio, Moraiolo and Leccino plants, the most common in the area. The olive oil has a fruity taste that makes it enjoyable to taste despite its bitterness and strong flavour of vegetables, specifically artichokes, making the product unique. Its sweetness is preferred over other extra-virgin olive oils in the kitchen and has characterized it throughout history. Bruschetta, soup and spelt minestrone are never missing from menus of typical, local dishes, and the olive oil produced here exalts their flavours.