Torre a Cenaia Estate is the original heart of the modern village of Cenaia, a populous and dynamic part of the municipality of Crespina Lorenzana (Province of Pisa). The ancient village of the Estate, characterized by the “Casa Turrita”, the villa with the tower also known as the Castle of Cenaja, appears for the first time in a document of 1068 AD: at this time it was the center of a fertile land, that had a strategic importance to control the valley at the foot of the Pisan hills; probably it was built on an old fortified Roman building. The name may come from the Latin caenum that means “mud” and Cenaja or Cenaria would indicate wetlands at the foot of the Castle, built on the only elevated area sheltered from water.
The development of these lands starts with the drainage of the surronding marshes in 1276 and the excavation of the Arnonico Ditch, also called War Ditch because it had built to prevent the incursions of the Florentine armies. But the fortune of this area started in the Sixteenth century, when Cosimo I De Medici began a lot of works aimed at restocking the Pisan lowland: the territory was organized by the methods of sharecropping and, later, embedded in a large Gran Duke’s hunting estate.
The viticulture of the estate dates back to the famous Florentine family of Pitti, the owner of these lands until the early Twentieth century. It was Count Robert Pitti that infused to the entire territory this distinctive character and made it famous. For this reason, when he left the Estate he decided to give it the name and the coat of arms of his noble family, together with the denomination Cenaja Ancient Pitti’s Property.
Before the Pitti, many noble families have owned the Estate. Among the most famous, Marquises Bartolini Salimbeni and Counts De Bearn – Valery of Corse, who built the italian-style garden and the charming Villa Valery, built in style Liberty in 1879. Other notorius people have marked the history of the Estate, like Otto-Ernst Flick, whose initials are still today on the entrance gate. German tycoon of great international importance, von Flick embodied the real golden age of Torre a Cenaia. During his tenure, inside Villa Valery it could happen to come across people such as German Chancellor Willy Brandt and Christina Onassis.