Natural beauty, legends and stories in the emerald waters of the Cecina Valley

July 6, 2020

During the summer there is an interest in swimming rivers, an alternative to the sea, not a makeshift but the choice to dive along particularly beautiful waterways, with crystal clear waters and perhaps a more difficult tranquility to find along the beaches.

The Masso delle Fanciulle – Boulder of the Girls – and the Masso degli Specchi – Boudler of the Mirrors – are two points along the course of the Cecina river, which is also known as the “sea of ​​Volterra”.

Located within the Berignone Nature Reserve, in the municipality of Pomarance, they are easily accessible by following the Lanciaia road; well indicated with tourist signs, these two points on the Cecina river, better known simply as Masso delle Fanciulle, have become a notable tourist attraction in recent years.

What enchants this place is certainly the color of the green waters, the natural environment that surrounds the river, the landscape enjoyed both in the stretch of the route to reach the Masso which also provides for an easy ford of the Cecina river, and walkway along the gorile of an ancient mill that seen from above the cliff overlooking the Masso degli Specchi.

the green waters of the Masso delle Fanciulle in the Cecina creek

For those who like adventure, it is possible to go up, with suitable footwear, also the course of the river upstream of the Masso degli Specchi, going to find small pools of water, loops that delimit small pools in which to dive, waterfalls where to relax for a while (important note: this further ascent of the watercourse is only possible accompanied by an environmental hiking guide).
This year, thanks to the abundant rains, the river has resumed its flow and also the waterfall of the dam, placed between the Masso delle Fanciulle and the Masso degli Specchi, manages to fulfill its function of effective hydromassage for all those who want to take advantage of it.

Natural whirlpools between the two boulders

Stories and legends of the Masso delle Fanciulle, between pastoral tradition and resistance

The legend, or rather the legends on the Masso delle Fanciulle are numerous, of these the best known is that which tells that two beautiful sisters while grazing the flock in the fields around the river, entertained themselves singing melodious harmonies; a local gentleman, in love with them, tried to approach them; to escape his clutches, the two girls threw themselves into the waters of the river which has since reminded them with a slight murmur.

These places are also historically known because along the stretch of the Cecina river, which goes from Ponte di Ferro to the Bocche di Pavone, during the Second World War there were several episodes of guerrilla war between the Nazi-fascist troops and the partisans who hid in the woods.

I recommend visiting during the week, even better if in the early morning or late afternoon, pleasure and well-being are guaranteed.

How to get there:

From the regional road 439, coming from Saline di Volterra, we take the crossroads to the left after the “Ponte di Ferro” (sign Masso delle Fanciulle and Masso degli Specchi), and we will travel about 6 km on the flat, ignoring any deviation to the right and left of the main road, we will arrive at a concrete bridge that crosses the Possera stream. After 500m we arrive at the pump building of the aqueduct room where the asphalt road ends and where you can already leave your car; there is also a fountain here. If you want to continue for another 600 meters on a dirt road, we will arrive at the Cecina river, where we can leave our car in a large square.

From here begins the walking path that includes the ford of the Cecina river moving on boulders positioned ad hoc, continue through the fields, then for a short stretch in the woods, until you get to the Masso delle Fanciulle (43 ° 18’18 ” N-10 ° 56’10,6 “E). Already in this first point it is possible to swim, there are small beaches and various points where you can sit; otherwise continue with another 10 minutes walk on the right bank of the river along a wall that is the ancient gorile of the Berignone mill, up to the Masso degli Specchi (43 ° 18’18 “N-10 ° 56’21.7” ).

From the cars to the Masso degli Specchi, consider about 20 minutes on foot

I would add that cloud coverings and thunderstorms of short duration but of moderate intensity are frequent in this area. If you are brave, do not run away as soon as you see clouds on the horizon, often they pass.

There are no refreshment points, parking is unattended, free access; we remind you to respect the rules of reservations.

Maria Odilia Consiglio



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