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In search of the Medici

Saying Medici is like telling the story and the very soul of Tuscany...And what place, if not the Medici Montalbano, could best embody this spirit after Florence? In the municipalities of Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano, we find two of the jewels left by this illustrious family, two of their most extraordinary villas, immersed in splendid estates and parks.

The elegance and uniqueness of the Medici Villas are so immense that since 2013 they have been included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Starting from Prato heading south:

Our journey begins by leaving Prato and heading south, crossing the Cascine di Tavola, to then reach Poggio a Caiano, where we will visit the majestic Villa Ambra. These places were the favorites of Lorenzo the Magnificent, Francesco I and Grand Duke Ferdinand, three lovers of country homes, nature, hunting and sumptuous parties in the gardens.

In 1474, Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of the most enlightened figures of the family, purchased a "lord's house" in Poggio a Caiano on a small hill near the Ombrone stream and the vast surrounding lands, mostly uncultivated. His intent was to transform this house into a new noble villa, the centre of a vast estate, following the Renaissance architectural principles of Leon Battista Alberti, which promoted a harmonious relationship between building and nature. This complex in Poggio a Caiano includes the Villa, the park, the stables and the farmhouses.

Continuing south:

Continuing our route south, we reach another Medici treasure, Villa La Ferdinanda in Artimino, named in honor of Grand Duke Ferdinand I, who had it built at the end of the 16th century. Here too, the imposing building is closely related to the territory, being located in the centre of Barco Reale, a magnificent hunting reserve that the Grand Duke looked after with great passion.

An advice:

For those who love slow tourism and want to explore on foot all the fascinating testimonies of the Medici in our region, we suggest walking along the Via Medicea. This 78 kilometre trail connects Prato to Fucecchio and can be done in 4 or more days. It is a unique and original journey through history, where landscapes, works of art, architecture, nature and local products blend with the stories and figures of the Medici.

Information note: we recommend traveling by car to optimize time. To visit Villa La Ferdinanda, being private, it is necessary to arrange an appointment.