Discover Montalbano among the hills and villages in Tuscany
How about going to the Tuscan hills? Today I take you to know a very special area of one of the most beautiful regions of Italy: Montalbano. All ready? Come on! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.
When we talk about Tuscany, it is common to think of beautiful cities like the capital of the region, Florence, among many others like Montalcino, Siena, Pisa, Volterra, Lucca, and so on. But the region of Tuscany offers us beauties beyond “the obvious”! The Tuscan hills are famous for the impressive panoramas they offer with their natural designs. And there, between hills and plateaus, we find the Montalbano area, which extends between the hills of the provinces of Florence, Pistoia and Prato. Famous for the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, it is not difficult to recognize several of them in several paintings created by the master. Today we are going to visit the Montalbano area, in Tuscany. Also read: the ten must-see places in Tuscany!
The road that takes us to the Montalbano area would already be worth the trip…
The landscapes that mix cultivated vineyards, olive trees and chestnut trees impress even the most demanding eyes. It is useless to try to describe, with precision, the beauty of this place that seems to have been painted by da Vinci himself in one of his moments of great inspiration. Around here, between the 16th and 17th centuries, approximately 4,000 hectares were allocated by the Medici, a large area used as a hunting reserve; today only the walls remain.
Contact with nature…
The Montalbano area is particularly ideal for those who want to walk and get in touch with nature. Here pedestrians and cyclists reach mountainous places surrounded by vegetation, archaeological sites, ancient forests and magical places! The place also has an excellent wine road and, of course, olive oil, which is one of the most prestigious products in Italy. Also read: when is the best time to visit Italian wineries?
Montalbano is an ecological tourism area that has successfully developed thanks to the impeccable management of the region’s agritourism: with a proposal that is ‘friend’ of the environment, agricultural and traditional activities – such as the production of olive oil, wine, honey, cheeses, sweets, jams, herbs, among others – the area values and protects nature as one would protect a child! The success is the collaboration of several people who created hiking trails, small hotels and stops in strategic places, always and all integrated with nature. The region is immense, but there are some must-see places and we will find out what they are now! Also read: what are the types of Italian wines?
1) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT VINCI
Undoubtedly one of the most interesting places in the area. In Vinci we find the wonderful Castello dei Conti Guidi, which dates back to the early Middle Ages and is known as the “ship’s castle”, for its unusual shape. Here you can find carved and frescoed coats of arms, as well as some works of art, including some ceramics. In the square behind the museum, you can admire “The Man of Vinci”, a large wooden sculpture made by Mario Ceroli and inspired by Leonardo’s Vitruvian man. Also be sure to visit Villa Martelli, rebuilt in Art Nouveau style by architect Adolfo Coppedé. Historic! Also read: How to bring wines from Italy in your luggage.
2) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT CERRETO GUIDI
Another beautiful Villa Medici is that of Cerreto Guidi, with its majestic ramps attributed to Bernardo Buontalenti. The site, nowadays, is a state heritage and houses the beautiful Historical Museum of Hunting and Territory. Our attention is drawn to the Palazzina dei Cacciatori, built by Cosimo I of Medici, and the Medici farm of Stabbia, not to mention the Villa di Colle Alberti, home to an important winery in the region, and the majestic Villa Mori.
3) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT QUARRATA
It is here that you will find the magnificent Villa Medicea la Màgia. The village is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and is indeed beautiful. The village is an old fortress that belonged to the Panciatichi, but in 1585 it was bought by Francesco I of Medici, who turned it into his country house. The place still conserves valuable painted doors, vintage furniture and an impeccable Italian garden, which presents us with several statues and lemon trees. Once in Quarrata, also visit another beautiful Villa, Villa Banchieri.
4) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT LAMPORECCHIO
In this charming village you will find the beautiful Villa Rospigliosi, built in 1600, by order of Pope Clement IX, who was actually called Giulio Rospigliosi. Legend has it that he entrusted the work to Bernini and, inside, you can see several frescoes in the central hall and in other rooms, largely attributed to Ludovico Gemignani. The work “Apollo and Aurora in the chariot of the sun” and the images of the zodiac signs are worthy of mention. The Villa is immersed in nature, surrounded by the green that shines around the property.
5) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT LARCIANO
Here is the magnificent Larciano Castle, which dates from the 14th century. Of all the towers that lined the walls, today only a few ruins remain, and the only ‘survivor’ was the Message Tower, which stands splendor from the top of its 36 meters high. Inside the castle we can still see the old cistern and the Civic Museum. Another castle in the area worth mentioning is Castello di Cecina, located in a small fraction of Larciano. This castle has origins in the 14th century, it is smaller, but leaves nothing to be desired. Another place worth visiting is in Castelmartini. We are talking about another beautiful village, Villa Poggi Banchieri, with Renaissance touches, and also in the middle of nature. A beautiful place!
6) Discover Montalbano in Tuscany: VISIT MONSUMMANO TERME
We close our list at Monsummano Terme. Here you can stop to visit several unbelievable villages, the most famous of which is the 19th-century Villa Martini . The building is elegantly presented and very well decorated; it is located in a park surrounded by redwoods and cedars, and there you can visit a splendid museum of contemporary art.
Be sure to also visit the Osteria dei Pellegrini, commissioned in the 17th century by Grand Duke Ferdinando I to welcome pilgrims passing through on their way to the Sanctuary of Fontenuova. Years later, the place became a prison and, today, it houses the Museum of the City and Territory, the Library and the Historical Archive of the Municipality. Well worth the visit! Also nearby is the beautiful Villa Medici de Montevettolini, built by Grand Duke Ferdinando I de Medici in 1597 on the slopes of Monte Albano. Today it is a place much used by the film industry, because it is – really – a beautiful place!
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Discover Montalbano among the hills and villages of Tuscany – venturing into the Tuscan countryside is a unique experience. Its small villages, its incredible and unique panoramas make the tour very special. A tip: if you can, stop in all the towns in that area! One is more charming than the other and they surprise us: all of them!
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