Valle Benedetta

On the hillside 12 kilometres from the centre of Livorno, is the area known as Valle Benedetta from where one of the best views over the city can be admired. At the beginning of the 17th century this was a wild place inhabited by wolves and brigands. However, a local man called Colombino Bassi, of the Vallumbrosan Order, and friend of Cosimo III, took a liking to the area and obtained permission from the Pope and the Grand Duchy to found a church and monastery here. The church was completed in 1697 and dedicated to San Giovanni Gualberto.
The very first inhabitants came to the area in the mid 1800s when the cultivation of the Kermes insect began for the red dye that could be obtained from them.