What to visit around
ATTRACTIONS FOR CHILDREN AND INFANTS
For infants and children we recommend:
The Natural History Museum at Pisa Charterhouse (Certosa di Calci). The Museum houses one of the longest halls with one of the largest collections whale skeletons and other cetaceans in Europe housed in the historic top-floor of this former monastery from where one can also enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
Collodi: the Pinocchio Park, Villa Gorzoni and the Butterfly House At Collodi one finds the Pinocchio Park inspired by Carlo Collodi’s timeless story, the Butterfly House, a heated glass house which houses hundreds of butterflies from the tropics and the equator; the Gardens of Villa Gorzoni designed in the 17th century full of fountains, statues and water features.
The Zoological Gardens of Pistoia A park spread on seven hectares housing around 400 animals. Entertaining events such as animal feeding with members of the staff (free) are organised and open to both kids and adults alike.
The Dinosaur and Pre-Historic Park at Peccioli The park has life-size models of dinosaurs and offers the possibility of a pleasant walk in a pre-historic setting. Pass a care-free day immersed in nature and pre-history.
The Holm Oak of Faltognano, Vinci Located on a green terrace from where one can enjoy breathtaking views of Vinci, the Holm Oak (Leccio in Italian), dates back to the end of the 17th century is listed as one of the monumental trees of Tuscany. At its base it has a circumference of 5.2 metres and is 15 mt high. It is perfect for an outdoor excursion in a location with unique panoramic views.
VINCI – the birthplace of Leonardo (3 km)
In Vinci one must visit the Museo Leonardiano in the Count Guidi castle, which houses a section dedicated to the study of optics and a large collection of wooden models of the machines designed by Leonardo da Vinci, the Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci and the Leonardo’s Library.
The walk which will take you from Vinci to Leonardo’s birthplace in Anchiano is a pleasant one through beautiful views of olive groves and millennial holm oaks.
MONTALBANO (3 km)
One can discover the small towns and villages in the area close to our agriturismo.
The protected area of Montalbano covers around 16,000 hectares to the north of Vinci. Here one can enjoy various walks exploring areas of botanical, geological, photographic interest.
One can trek a number of trails through olive groves, vineyards, terraced fields, chestnut woods, holm oaks and ancient farmers’ lodgings. We recommend as an excursion the “Green Trail”, which would take you from Vinci to the house where Leonardo was born in Anchiano.
CERRETO GUIDI (5 km)
At Cerreto Guidi one can visit Villa Medicea, built by Cosimo I dei Medici in 1556 as his country residence and hunting lodge and which today houses the Museum of the History of Hunting and the Region.
Also of interest is the Museum of Folklore (Museo della Memoria Locale), where one can find exhibits of traditional activities and folklore of the region and surrounding territories.
THE FUCECCHIO MARSH (10 km)
The Fucecchio Marsh is an extensive swamp that extends up to 200 hectares. The area can be visited by car, on foot or bike, whether for site-seeing or bird watching.
A favourite is the “Morette” itinerary (free entry) and the “Righetti” itinerary (only permitted if accompanied by a guide).
PISTOIA (at 24 km)
Piazza del Duomo is the heart of the city and the seat of the most important monuments: Palazzo Pretorio, the Baptistery and the Cathedral of San Zeno.
The Pretorio Palace was the seat of the city court and preserved frescoes and secular history of Pistoia; The Baptistery of St. John in the Court is an octagonal plant in white marble Carrara and in green marble of Prato; The Cathedral of San Zeno is a wonder of Romanesque art, with architectural and pictorial overlays of successive periods.
Inside there is the silver altar of San Jacopo realized between 1287 and 1456. The Civic Museum, which represents the entire artistic history of the city.
PRATO (33 km)
CERTALDO (34 km)
Certaldo is famous for being the birthplace of Giovanni Boccaccio. We recommend that you visit Certaldo Alto, a beautiful example of a medieval town which is still well preserved, the Palazzo Pretorio and the House of Boccaccio.
Ulteriore testimonianza di questa caratteristica è la mancanza di una grande piazza nel centro storico, mentre al suo posto vi troviamo una lunga e larga via (via Boccaccio).
FLORENCE, the city of art (38 km)
Firenze boasts a magnificent art tradition, that bears testimony of its proud history. Artists such as Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of the Italian Renaissance; Arnolfo and Pisano masters of sculpture and architecture during the late Medieval period; Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio who further developed the Renaissance, Ghiberti, Della Robbia, Filippo Lippi and L’Angelico, Botticelli and Paolo Uccello, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo all lived in Florence.
Their works of art – together with those of numerous other artists – can be found in the city’s multitudinous museums: the Uffizi (www.uffizi.com) , the most visited art gallery in the world; the Galleria Palatina housed inside Palazzo Pitti, hosts a vast collection of Renaissance Art; the Bargello with sculptures from the Renaissance; the Museum of San Marco with the works of Angelico; l’Academia (housing the famous Michelangelo’s David), the Medici Chapels, the Casa Buonarroti, which houses sculptures by Michelangelo; the Museum Bardini, the Stibbert Museum, the Romano and Corsini Museums, the Modern Art Museum, the Museum of the Cathedral (Duomo), the Silver Museum and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Museum of artworks made with colourful semi-precious stone).
Important monuments are located in the city all bearing testimony to the various stages in the development of the Florentine artistic tradition. The Battistero with its mosaics; the Duomo with its sculptures, the medieval churches with their colourful frescos each narrating various biblical story, the various Palaces – Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici, Palazzo Riccardi, Palazzo Davanzati, the monasteries and the Certosa. The Archeological Museum has a vast collection documenting the history of the Etruscans.
LUCCA (42 km)
For those wishing to visit this city, we strongly recommend a walk round the ancient walls (on foot or by bicycle rented from one of the various points along the walls) or climb up Torre Guinigi or the higher Torre delle Ore (the Clock Tower). From these vantage points one can admire splendid panoramas of the roofs of the Tuscan city that allows one to appreciate the beauty and harmony of the urban design of this city as imagined by the Romans.
Another must-see destination is the Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro, unique in its design. We also recommend a visit to the Church of Saint Michael, also known as del Furo, located in what was previously the centre of ancient Lucca. The two main axes, Via Fillungo and Via San Paolino are today much sought after shopping centres. Another destination is the Duomo of Lucca, the Churches of San Michele and San Frediano and the National Museum of Villa Mansi. Lucca is a welcoming city, tranquil with excellent restaurants surrounded by pristine countryside.
SAN GIMIGNANO (48 km)
San Gimignano is without doubt one of the most famous medieval citadels in Tuscany. As a result of its medieval architecture and its historical centre (“centro storico”), the town has been declared a UNESCO World Heirtage Site. San Gimignano, despite the renovations carried out in the 18th and 19th century has managed to retain architecture dating back to the second and third century and is one of the best examples of urban design dating back to the period of the medieval communes in Europe.
San Gimignano is particularly famous for its sixteen medieval towers that still line its outskirts, which have given the citadel the nickname the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”.
Not to be missed in this town is the Museum of Torture.
PISA (60 km)
Pisa, the city of Galileo Galilei prides itself of a history which spans millennia that reached its peak , during the period of the maritime republic. It is well known for its leaning tower, an extraordinary monument, that graces the “Quadrilogia” in the Piazza del Duomo, the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral (Duomo) of Santa Maria Assunta, St. John’s Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale. The area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and rechristened by Gabrielle D’Annunzio “The Square of Miracles”.
“Errors are necessary, useful as bread and sometimes even beautiful as for example the Tower of Pisa”.
One can admire the Piazza dei Cavalieri (the Knights’ Square) with its clock tower and the famous Torre della Fame, the Palazzo della Carovana and the Church of St. Stephen of the Knights. A visit to the old quarters at Borgo Stretto and a walk through Lungarni in a city which is spectacular during the day, beautiful at sunset and alive in the evening. All this combines to complete an amazing picture rich in its vivacity and history.
One cannot miss the “Luminara di San Ranieri” for the unique and picturesque feast which takes place in Pisa the evening of the 16th of June of each year, on the eve of San Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa.
VOLTERRA (61 km)
The city is known for the quarrying of alabaster and its famous historical centre dating back to the Etruscans, its many Roman ruins and Medieval buildings such as the Cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori in the square bearing the same name, the very heart of this city. Many feasts are celebrated in the city.Amongst the traditional feasts, one can enjoy:
- The crossbow tournament which is organised on the first Sunday after the 2nd of June, each year.
- The historical reanactment “Volterra AD 1398” during the third and fourth Sunday of August.
- The Palio dei Caci, a cheese rolling race in one of the city’s streets in which the participants wear medieval costumes.
VIAREGGIO (65 km)
Viareggio is known, for being a seaside resort and for its Carnival which dates back to 1873, with the parade of the spectacular papier mache floats that travel along the seaside promenade.
Viareggio is a location full of culture that one can easily admire. The Liberty style buildings along the promenade. The promenade is a main attraction of Viareggio: a long 3 km avenue that borders the sea with notable attractions such as the Bagno Balena to the Cafe Margherita, a popular haunt of Giacomo Puccini.
SIENA (80 km)
Known around the world for the much celebrated Palio, a horserace where jockeys ride bareback which takes place twice a year on the 2nd of July and the 16th of August. In the core of the city one finds the Piazza del Campo, where the race takes place and which is dominated by the town hall and the Torre del Mangia from where one can enjoy splendid views of the city.
The historical centre is typical of Medieval design. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1995.