Discovering the Village of Mirteto: Abandoned Treasure in the Heart of Monte Pisano
Hidden on the slopes of Monte Pisano, above Asciano in the picturesque province of Pisa, the small abandoned village of Mirteto awaits to reveal its history and its charm, welcoming anyone who ventures to explore its quiet solitude.
Mirteto, an abandoned monastery whose first traces date back to 1100, retains its religious footprint. At its heart is the Romanesque church, once a private oratory used until the last century. The mystical atmosphere of the village is further accentuated by the fact that, to reach it, you have to follow a pedestrian path, the only connection with the outside world, since the streets are not accessible by car.
In the 1950s, Mirteto was abandoned, as the isolated life in this remote place became impassable. Today, the complex is surrounded by the charm of abandonment, with ivy slowly creeping over the walls of the ancient buildings. The church of Santa Maria di Mirteto, built in the twelfth century and once affiliated to the Abbey of San Michele alla Verruca, remains the beating heart of this place.
Although abandoned, the building still beautifully preserves its walls and altar. The sundial on the side, well preserved, continues to mark the inexorable passing of time, while the fifteenth-century statue of the Madonna della Neve, once kept inside, is now present in the church of Asciano.
Around the church, stand the other buildings that once housed generations of Cistercian monks. Houses, ovens and cellars testify to centuries of monastic life. The presence of more modern buildings, probably dating back to the ‘900, suggests that the last monks who lived in Mirteto tried to preserve and adapt the village to the needs of their time before the final abandonment in the ’50s.
The name “Mirteto” leaves no place for doubt about its origin, resulting from the abundant presence of myrtle plants in its surrounding area. Although the number of these plants has greatly decreased due to the lack of human care, even today you can find fragrant bushes and some plum trees of the ancient orchard, testimonies of a time when life flourished within the walls of this forgotten village.
Exploring Mirteto is like taking a journey through time, a walk through the vestiges of a past rich in spirituality and monastic life, surrounded by the wild beauty of Monte Pisano.