Santa Luce paesaggio

The colours of peace in the hills, lavender and spirituality of Santa Luce

A journey through fragrant lavender fields, rolling hills, a nature reserve and the harmony of one of the largest Buddhist centres in Europe. A panacea for the eyes and the soul.


How many colours can a landscape contain? In Santa Luce, the green of the Tuscan hills encounters the purple of Provence, the blue of the lake and the red and yellow of Tibet. Peace and contemplation reign supreme in the colourful expanses of wheat fields, vineyards, olive groves and the intense purple of the lavender fields of Pieve di Santa Luce, in the Pisan hills of the Etruscan Coast. During the flowering period, between June and July, it is possible to walk through and experience the scents and sights of the purple sea of the lavender fields that stand out against the fields of yellow wheat and the green hillsides, a unique place where the soul finds peace and the imagination is set free. Against this backdrop, local farms offer hospitality and also sell produce such as pasta, wine, olive oil, flour, honey, meat, eggs as well as lavender essential oil supplements, perfumes, room fragrances and even the delicate liqueur, “lavandello”, the perfect after-dinner drink!

Santa Luce lavanda

Travelling a little way further south through the unmistakable Tuscan landscape of rolling hills and clusters of houses and passing through the hamlet of Pastina, the site of the medieval church of San Bartolomeo, you come to Pomaia; the village of is of Etruscan origin and renowned for its precious, pure alabaster taken from the “Pietra di Luce” quarry since ancient times and worked in nearby Volterra. The peaceful flight of the swallows and the sweet smell of the vineyards are the prelude to the castle tower which houses the Lama Tzong Khapa Institute, one of the largest Buddhist centres in Europe. An oasis of peace for monks, lay people, volunteers, students and anyone wanting to spend time in meditation, breathing in the beauty of nature. Far from the noise and flaws of city life, here you can listen to the sound of running water and the leaves dancing in the wind.

Pomaia Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa

Since the late 1970s, the Tibetan Buddhism Centre has welcomed anyone approaching the study, practice, development and promulgation of the culture of love and wisdom taught by Buddha. Along the paths through the beautiful grounds, there are white stupas and Buddha statues, including the 8-metre high statue of the Buddha of Compassion, the tallest in Europe. This statue had originally been made for Martin Scorsese’s film “Kudun” and was later remodelled to respect Buddhist iconography and also to resist to the elements.

To the west, the LIPU (Italian Bird Protection League) Lago di Santa Luce Nature Reserve, where numerous species of birds and animals find a protected habit, concludes this journey into peace and beauty. The lake, a Site of Community Importance (SCI), has over 180 registered species and is an important rest area for migratory birds, which feature according to the season. Teals, mallards, widgeons, cormorants and river nightingales can all be observed on the trees and among the reeds as well as the typical flask-shaped nests of the penduline tit swaying on the tamarisks. Kestrels and buzzards hunting over the fields or the silhouette of a hawk flying over the reeds can be spotted during the day and at night, barn owls, owls and other nocturnal birds of prey. Guided tours, excursions, workshops and nocturnal events in the moonlight are available for booking.

To find out more:

Lama Tzong Khapa Institute

Via Poggiberna, 15 56040 Pomaia (Pisa)

+39 050/685654 – +39 050/684133

Santa Luce Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, at the following times:

Autumn/Spring: 10.30-18.00

Winter: 10.30-16.00

Summer: 9.30-12.00 / 17.30-20.30

Admission Fee: € 3.00 adults. € 2.00 children aged 7 to 17. Free admission for LIPU members and children under 7