Casale Marittimo has always been a territory rich in resources with numerous springs and salt mines and it has been inhabited since the Etruscan times as the above-mentioned Necropolis of Casa Nocera demonstrates.
The town of Casale Marittimo with a population of about 1,000 inhabitants is in the province of Pisa and is at 214 m. of altitude. Its visitors can admire the suggestive Etruscan Necropolis and the Parish of St. John the Baptist.
Casale Marittimo has always been a territory rich in resources with numerous springs and salt mines and it has been inhabited since the Etruscan times as the above-mentioned Necropolis of Casa Nocera demonstrates. The graves dating to the VII century B.C. have revealed the presence of very rich equipments which means that a rich aristocracy dominated the ancient built-up area. The grave in Tholos in Poggiarella found in the XIX century and therefore much pillaged is poorer of evidences. Two Roman villas in La Pieve and in Il Poggio testify the passage from the Etruscan age to the Roman times.
In medieval times, the village flourished again around the year 1000 with the Counts Della Gherardesca. At the time, the Parish of St. John the Baptist that also administered the other parishes of the area was the main structure. It was severely damaged during the clashes between Pisa and Florence in 1363. The Bishop of Volterra then established that the baptisms were performed in the other church of ST. John the Baptist in Santo Andrea di Casale.
Later, the village entered the dominions of Florence at the end of the city of the lily's campaign to dominate Pisa. In the first centuries, the Grand Duchy were almost exclusively characterized by the fights the inhabitants of Casale led against pirates and the malaria that raged over the area causing epidemics and famine. At he half of the XVI century, Casale only had 254 inhabitants.
In 1642, huge fortification works against pirates began. Six years later, Casale was given to the Ridolfi as a feud, until 1738, when it became part of the marquisate of Riparbella under the seigniory of the Counts Ginori. At the time, the lands of Casale were barren and depopulated and they represented the count's private game reserve.
In 1777, yet, the first signs of recovery became visible thanks to the Leopoldine reforms ordered by the Lorraine and thanks to them the lands were redistributed and new families emerged in the ambit of the agricultural economy.
In the XIX century, once the malaria had been defeated thanks to reclamations, Casale registered a strong population increase and its urban development granted the town its modern characteristics.
In 1862, the town changed its name from Casale nelle Maremme to Casale Val di Cecina. Only in 1900 it assumed the current denomination of Casale Marittimo. In the 50's of the XX century a new exodus occurred caused by the decline of sharecropping agriculture and by the resulting depopulation of the countryside. Slowly, agriculture left its place to tourism that now is the most important territorial resource.
Visit Casale Marittimo:
The territory of Casale Marittimo is rich of archaeological finds testifying its ancient origins, like the Etruscan necropolis and other sepulchres equipped by fine funerary dowries dating back to the same time so that testifying the presence of this rich civilization in the territory, who settled down in Casale Marittimo for its richness of water springs and minerals.
Very interesting is also the ancient Church entitled to Saint Andrew, recently restored and transformed so to host the Municipal offices of Casale Marittimo. The stone-made facade shows its original features and, on the main portal, a bass-relief made by Alberto Sparapani, portraying "Saint Andrew".
The interior of the church shows a wooden roof covered by painted trusses and it rich of numerous frescoes painted by Stefano Ghezzani.
Particularly interesting are also the Our Lady of the Graces Chapel and the Saint Sebastian Church. The first one was built in the XVIII-th century and it still saves today a copy of an original plate painted by some artist from Siena, whereas the Saint Sebastian Church was built on a pre-existing oratory and restored by using original materials coming from a Roman villa.
The Saint Sebastian Church still saves today a rare wooden sculpture by Giovanni Maria Tacci, dating back to the XVI-century and portraying a "Wounded Christ held by some Angels", whereas some of the finest art works belonging to the ancient building are saved today in the "Museum of Holy Art of Volterra", among them a painting portraying an "Our Lady with the Child between the Saints Sebastian and Rocco".