There are several routes in Castiglione della Pescaia, which can be defined as the Sacred Paths, because of the Saints which have left important traces of worship in these places.
These routes therefore stop in the places where they lived, inviting you to visit the artworks linked to the history and the miracles that took place in these lands. Frequently visited only because of the natural beauty of the landscape, ignoring the historical background, memories, ancient traditions and legends that have made this town one of the most important spiritual centers, which saw the birth and spread of the Williamite movement in the rest of the world.
The devotion to San Guglielmo grew until it was approved by Pope Innocenzo III in 1202 and with the commitment to the Saint, his faithful’s foundations increased, first in Tuscany, then in Latium, crossing the Alps with the name of the Order of San Guglielmo already in 1244. There are 4 paths, which correspond to 4 different figures of Saints. The distinction is purely indicative, in order to provide simple and immediate information. We will therefore find a path, which starts from the district of Le Bandite di Scarlino and reaches Tirli, which leads the traveller on the road of the venerable Father Giovanni da San Guglielmo, also known as the Apostle of the Maremma, a historical figure belonging to the Augustinian Order, who lived between the middle of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century. His ethics had an extraordinary influence not only in Castiglione della Pescaia, or in Maremma, but in the whole of Tuscany and elsewhere.
The itinerary that recalls his memory winds through the woods belonging to Le Bandite di Scarlino until it reaches the small village of Tirli, in the municipality of Castiglione della Pescaia, where he built the Augustinian convent of San Andrea. An itinerary from Castiglione della Pescaia is designed to retrace the history and life of San Guglielmo di Malavalle. The first section therefore includes a visit to the Monastery of Malavalle. Then a second itinerary leads to the Oratory dedicated to the Miracle of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to San Guglielmo, which can be reached from Buriano or through (upon prior authorization) the private estate of La Badiola visiting, by appointment, the small private chapel with the beautiful 17th century painting of the Miracle of the Virgin Mary appearing to San Guglielmo e Santi. The third part of this route moves towards the small village of Buriano where you can visit the parish church with the artworks associated with the cult of San Guglielmo di Malavalle; this visit, which can be arranged by appointment only, is completed by a small exhibition room with local sacred artworks where, among the numerous liturgical furnishings, you will find the precious silver reliquary with the Saint’s relics.
The third itinerary covers the Regional Nature Reserve of Diaccia Botrona, offering both a naturalistic aspect, linked to the flora and fauna of the protected wetland, and a historical, cultural and religious aspect. Through this Park you will reach the Clodia Island which houses the ruins of the ancient monastery of San Pancrazio al Fango connected with the legend of the blessed Libertesca. This Saint, perhaps still not well known, is today buried in Buriano, where she was dedicated an altar with a painting dating back to the 17th century. The fourth and last itinerary, leads through the medieval village of Castiglione della Pescaia, revealing the three churches in the village. In the church dedicated to San Giovanni Battista, other relics of San Guglielmo and a beautiful painting, probably a votive offering, representing the Virgin and Child, San Guglielmo and Santa Petronilla are conserved. The latter is also the patron saint of the village and has been greatly venerated in this area.
To discover Santa Petronilla’s history, the traveller is invited to visit Pian di Rocca, which is just a few kilometres from Castiglione della Pescaia, to learn about the past of the monastic complex located in Boschi delle Bandite, North-West of Pian di Rocca in La Santa.
a cura di Olivia Bruschettini
Disegni di Cinzia Bardelli
ITINERARY NO. 1
Along the path of the venerable Father Giovanni da San Guglielmo and discovering San Guglielmo di Malavalle. Walking through Le Bandite di Scarlino, Riserva della Zinghera, trail n. 32, Sant’Anna nel Bosco, trail n. 47, Tirli and San Andrea’s Church and Convent.
ITINERARY NO. 2
Part I – Map of the Castiglione Paths, Hermitage of San Guglielmo path n. 101. Low/medium difficulty. Height difference from 25 to 207 metres above sea level, about 3.8 km one way.
ITINERARY NO. 2
Part II – Map of the Castiglione Paths, Oratory of the Madonna and chapel of Badiola, path n. 210. Village of Buriano. Height difference from 95 to 350 meters above sea level, about 6.8 km one way. Medium difficulty.
ITINERARY NO. 3
Map of the Castiglione Trails follow RET 31. The itinerary is flat and goes through the Diaccia Botrona Natural Reserve. It starts from Casa Rossa Ximenes. Along the 15 km there are several birdwatching viewpoints.
ITINERARY NO. 4
Map of the Castiglione Trails, La Santa, trail n. 404. Round trip, km 5, altitude difference 306m above sea level. Low difficulty