The Montalbano, between faith and nature
Nature and faith trails along the Montalbano ridge road
Villas included: Villa di Cerreto Guidi, Villa di Artimino, Villa La Magia, Villa in Poggio a Caiano
This itinerary rich in nature and scenery focuses on the area around Montalbano and the Medici Villa di Artimino. Around the villa lies the Barco Reale, surrounded by high walls, a hunting centre for the Medici grand dukes.
RECOMMENDED MODES OF TRANSPORT
By car or on foot
CASTELLO DI ARTIMINO
From the Villa of Artimino, through a shady avenue, you reach the village of Artimino.
Center of Etruscan origin, Artimino is a fortified rural castle with walls, towers and gates, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of northern Tuscany. Interesting is the Archaeological Museum.
Just outside the walls you reach the Pieve di San Leonardo.
PIEVE DI SAN LEONARDO
Tradition has it that the church was built by Matilde di Canossa. In Lombard Romanesque style it has an apse with hanging arches and a slender bell tower. It preserves some works of the Tuscan school of the ‘400 and some Etruscan funerary urns inserted in the facade.
Along Via della Chiesa, Via Arrendevole and Via di San Martino you reach the Pieve di San Martino.
PIEVE DI SAN MARTINO
The church was first mentioned in 1057 and today has only two of the three original naves. Interesting is the existing apse and the lintel on the right side. Inside there is a late Gothic fresco depicting the Madonna and Child among Saints.
Through the dirt road of Valicarda you reach the Abbazia di San Giusto al Pinone.
ABBAZIA DI SAN GIUSTO AL PINONE
The Abbey is in Provençal Romanesque style and looks like a slender 11th century building. The apse, the bell tower and the crypt characterize the structure. Inside, the raised transept on steps contributes to confer further verticality.
A steep path, looking from above Florence and the Florentine plain, leads us to Pietramarina.
The Etruscan site of Pietramarina is in a well-preserved area surrounded by centuries-old trees, some of which are hollys. From here it’s possible to see across northern Tuscany and, on clear days, all the way to the sea and Gorgona.
A path through the woods along a ridge of the Montalbano will bring us to Sant’Alluccio.
TORRE DI SANT’ALLUCCIO
The Sant’Alluccio tower was built in approximately the 11th century by the Pescia Hospitallers for pilgrims who walked this important route. The tower is now in ruins and the entire complex is in bad conditions, but that does not distract from its charm. Continuing along the ridge path, you will arrive at San Baronto.
PIEVE DI SAN BARONTO
San Baronto chose this location to live as a hermit. In 1018, the church was built around his tomb. The current building’s outside appearance includes elements of a post-war renovation but the original church retains its crypt from the 9th century.