ART AND NATURE TIPS

Historic villas immersed in nature in the foothills of Monte Morello

Included sites: Villa la Petraia and Villa di Castello

Monte Morello, a hilly and mountainous area where Villa la Petraia and Villa di Castello nestle in the foothills, is a scenic corner of Tuscany with plenty of opportunities to hike amongst nature. Beautiful countryside with a rich natural heritage, it is a crossroad where history and art meet. The itinerary follows villas built in the area of Sesto Fiorentino by various noble Florentine families throughout the ages.

 

RECOMMENDED MODES OF TRANSPORT
By car or by public transport

STOPS
4 Stops

1
FIRST STOP
VILLA BALDINI DUFOUR BERTE

In the Quinto neighbourhood, is better known as the Villa Paolina after Paolina Bonaparte, wife of Prince Camillo Borghese, who purchased the building in 1825 and completely renovated it. Today, it is a beautiful villa in the Neoclassical style with an impressive garden. Most unusually, there is a small, iron suspension footbridge that connects the villa to its garden.

2
SECOND STOP
VILLA GERINI

is not very far from Villa Baldini. Built in the 14th century atop pre-existing settlements, it was gradually altered throughout the course of the 17th and 18th centuries until its current appearance; the garden, dating back to the 19th century is decorated with stone pools and an artificial lake. A curious fact: it’s so said that the Marquis Ferdinando del Benino, owner of Villa Gerini, wanted the gold coins that the gardener, Francesco Zoppi, found in the garden. This event inspired Collodi, Carlo Lorenzini, author of Pinocchio, to write one of the puppet’s most famous adventures, the “Field of Miracles”.

3
THIRD STOP
VILLA GINORI

is in the Doccia area. Built in the 16th century on an existing site, it is the same today as it was when the Ginori family owned it. It’s surrounded by a large park, a ragnaia, an area for capturing birds in nets hung from tree to tree, a citrus garden and the Viottolone Ginori trail that eventually leads to Monte Acuto. In 1730 Carlo Ginori created one of the most important botanic gardens in Florence. From 1818 onwards, there has been a large park and road, via Piana, which links Villa Ginori to Villa di Carmignanello.

4
FOURTH STOP
VILLA DI CARMIGNANELLO

is high in the hills and close to the Zamba River. The villa was built together with a farmhouse and the Church of San Bartolomeo in the village of Carmignanello. The villa was owned by the Buoninsegni family, but in 1609 was passed to the Convent of Santa Maria Novella and transformed into a monastery. The structure vaunts terraces that were built by architect Matteo Nigetto to account for the hilly slope, while the upper floor is where the living quarters are located, wrapping around an internal courtyard surrounded on three sides by a double order of loggias.

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