The stone village of Monteverdi Marittimo is a lovely hill town in the province of Pisa. Located in the Val di Cornia, it sits in a beautiful natural landscape above the Cornia and Sterza Rivers. The views look out over rolling hills, woods, valleys and vineyards - in short, the classic Tuscan picture!

Monteverdi Marittimo is a warren of stepped streets, little piazzas, terracements, staircases and charm. The town has Roman origins but it was the Benedictine monks who established the medieval foundations for a city. You can visit San Pietro in Palazzuolo, the ruins of their large walled complex just outside town. The site includes the remains of the church and cloister which were built with two-tone stones. The church of Sant'Andrea is dedicated to the town's patron saint (St. Andrew). The 14th century church has a stone facade with a della Robbia decoration above the door. The chapel known as the Capella del Santissimo Sacramento conserves a 14th century wooden crucifix of the "Cristo nero" - black Christ.

The villa Querciolaie is a villa that houses an art school by Rolando Stefanacci. The 10-hectare park is an open-air sculpture garden while a pool recreates the ancient baths (it's heated and open to the public!).

Nature lovers will adore this area! There are abundant trails and unspoiled landscapes to enjoy. The so-called Costa degli Etruschi is an uncrowded coast where many of the beaches are left in their natural state. The nearby Riserva Naturale di Monteferufoli is a nature preserve that covers 1500 hectares with plenty of habitat for a variety of wildlife and plants. It was once the domain of the powerful Gherardesca family.

Just four kilometers from Monteverdi is the cute borgo of Canneto, a rural hamlet with an ancient castle. The quaint village encompasses two narrow streets on the ridge, but the fascinating place is worth a visit as it's a real step back in time - with beautiful views.

The area's cuisine is centered on the hills, with meat, game, mushrooms and pasta appearing frequently on the tables, though fresh seasonal vegetables are certainly part of the line-up as well. The local vintage is Val di Cornia DOC, a hearty red that goes well with the local dishes.

Monteverdi Marittimo is near the art city of Volterra and the nearby historic town of Massa Marittima. Piombino and the Island of Elba are in reach, as well, and of course the sights of Tuscany and northern Lazio are accessible.

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