The province of Florence is characterized by Florence itself, the prosperous “Florentia”, founded by the Romans during the 1st century B.C., nearby the Etruscan centre Fiesole, which later became the most important Italian Renaissance centre. The area extends from the […]
The province of Florence is characterized by Florence itself, the prosperous “Florentia”, founded by the Romans during the 1st century B.C., nearby the Etruscan centre Fiesole, which later became the most important Italian Renaissance centre.
The area extends from the city to the Chianti, up to Impruneta and the valley Val d’Elsa, the Valdarno (i.e river Arno valley), the district Empoli – Val d’Elsa, the Mugello and the Florentine mountains. The province of Florence is surely one of the richest Tuscan areas, rich in nature and art.
Many smaller towns around Florence belong to the so called urban area: Bagno a Ripoli, Calenzano, Campi Bisenzio, Fiesole, Lastra a Signa, Scandicci, Sesto Fiorentino and Signa.
All these towns lie in a wonderful, panoramic position, just a few Kilometres far from Florence, they are rich in archaeological finds, testifying to the Etruscan, Roman and medieval past of the whole area; then during the 15th – 16th centuries these centres were transformed into a sort of appendages to Florence itself, importing the typical Florentine aesthetic sense to the outskirts.
If you go along any road, through valleys and hills, you’ll see villas and aristocratic houses, gardens and parks, where you can still discover many hidden art treasures (in 1870 there were 177 historic villas and 564 houses). Villa Medici in Fiesole was designed by Michelozzo between 1458 and 1461: Lorenzo Medici (the Magnificent) used to spend his holydays here, surrounded by artists, poets, philosophers like Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. Since that time Villa Medici has been attracting many tourists, even from America and England, who love to spend part of their Italian holyday in this house.
The Florentine Chianti is characterized by some wonderful estates, among Impruneta, San Casciano, Greve in Chianti, Barberino Val d’Elsa and Tavernelle Val di Pesa.
This territory had been disputed between Siena and Florence for a long time, therefore it is still rich in castles and fortresses, which overlook wonderful vineyards for the production of classical Chianti wine.
The Florentine area of Valdarno lies just a few miles far from Florence, Siena and Arezzo, and it’s included amongst the favourite holyday resorts for everybody, who is looking for art treasures and typical flavours of Tuscany. If you are interested in shopping rather than in art, you should visit the area with Figline, Incisa and Rignano, where you’ll find some of Italy’s most renowned fashion houses, with reasonable outlets where you can find products by Gucci, Armani, Prada and Dolce&Gabbana.
The area between Empoli and Val d’Elsa is right amid Florence, Pisa and Siena, between the river Arno and the northern mountains of Montalbano pistoiese, to the south of Val d’Elsa and Siena. Far from the mass tourism, it is still at the crossroads of significant routes, in the land of Certaldo, Vinci, Empoli and Castelfiorentino. This is the region where important artists like Leonardo, Boccaccio and Pontorno were born.
The Mugello area is the birthplace of medieval painters like Giotto and Beato Angelico; the Medici family arises in this area as well, exactly by Campiano, a village near Barberino.
One of the most interesting routes will lead you through valleys and hills, where a lot of ancient Medicean villas are still to be admired: Villa Demidoff in Pratolino, by the town of Vaglia; the Trebbio castle and the fortress of San Martino in San Piero di Sieve and the imposing Cafaggiolo castle by Barberino del Mugello (Lorenzo’s favourite summer country house).
The district of Mugello is well known among famous racing cyclists (who come here to train) and motorcycle racers, thanks to the international autodrome of Mugello, where the Italian stage of the world motorcycle championship takes place every year. Mugello offers anyway more than engines and bicycles: trekking routes, a wonderful nature and an excellent gastronomy (meeting point between different cookeries, from Florence to Bologna) give us more reasons to stop here and enjoy some genuine Tuscan spirit.
The area called Florentine mountain borders the Mugello; this is the place of the world-famous forest Vallombrosa, with the millenarian abbey, by Reggello.
A really surprising, natural paradise is represented by the Corella valley, by Dicomano; the Etruscans settled down in the neighbouring village Frascole. About one third of the territory by San Godenzo is included in the national nature park Foreste Casentinesi, with its waterfalls called Acquacheta and the mount Falterona, a sacred place for Etruscan people, where the river Arno springs from.
By the Florentine mountain we can find many nature parks (Vallombrosa, S. Atonia, Vincine, Santa Brigida and Monte Giovi).
This is therefore the ideal, uncontaminated place for every hiker just a few miles from Florence.
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