From Firenze to the Mugello
Get to know the original Medici territory
Included sites: Medici villa in Fiesole, Pratolino Garden, Villa del Trebbio, Villa di Cafaggiolo
This itinerary is the starting point to get to know not only the villas and gardens to the north of Florence but also other places that are undeniably linked to the Medici family and the land where they come from.
RECOMMENDED MODES OF TRANSPORT
Car or with public transport
THE MEDICI VILLA IN FIESOLE
Inherited by Lorenzo the Magnificent after the death of his brother, the villa became a hotspot for artists and intellectuals. It’s a prototype of a suburban villa, combining simplicity, harmony and beauty. Placed on three terraces that look over the Florentine valley, the garden has 20th-century elements that were added by the architect Cecil Pinsent.
The great estate was designed by Buontalenti for Grand Duke Francesco I. Abandoned gradually, the villa was demolished and transformed into a garden and an English-stlye park. Artificial caves, fountains and an astonishing Fountain of the Apennines by Giambologna are traces of the past splendour. It is one of the largest parks in Tuscany and has many ancient trees.
THE MEDICI FORTRESS OF SAN MARTINO
One of Europe’s largest suburban fortresses and a completely fortified hill. In 1569, Cosimo I entrusted the project to Baldassarre Lanci, but in 1608 Buontalenti finished its construction. Nine bastions and two gates surround the central keep. The fortress is a huge city, with mills, armoury tanks and kilns, and could hold 2,000 soldiers. The visit follows a path surrounding the walls.
VILLA DEL TREBBIO
Leaving the fortress, down white roads and the provincial road, you will arrive at the Villa del Trebbio, located in the homeland of the Medici and once owned by Giovanni di Bicci, the patriarch of the family. From here, the villa dominates the whole of the Mugello valley. Giovanni dalle Bande Nere lived in the villa and it was here where his son Cosimo grew up, future Grand Duke of Tuscany.
VILLA DI CAFAGGIOLO
Continuing on the white road and through the woods and fields, you’ll reach the powerful and imposing Villa di Cafaggiolo. The myth goes that it was here that Lorenzo the Magnificent composed the poem La Nencia di Barberino, since this was where he spent part of his childhood. After the Medici and the Lorraines, it was sold to the Borghese family, who made substantial changes to Michelozzo’s 16th-century design.
PALAZZO DEI VICARI
A 14th-century palace, reworked many times, and home to the Museum of of Knives and Cutting tools. On the façade hang some beautiful, glazed terracotta noble coats of arms by Della Robbia and Buglioni. Filippo Brunelleschi’s clock on the palace’s tower is extraordinary.