Our recommended visits

Less known places, away from mass tourism yet still beautiful and enchanting; real hidden gems which can be reached by railway or road for an unforgettable trips to a remote and still relatively undiscovered Tuscany.

• The Leonardo museum in Vinci.

The village of Vinci hosts the fascinating Leonardo museum. Located inside the Uzielli Palace and the Counts Guidi castle, the museum contains a vast collection of models, drawings and sketches by Leonardo: definitely an excellent option if you are into the inventions of the artist and genius or simply if you are fascinated by history and engineering.
Vinci itself is one of the most charming Italian small towns; ideal for a half-day excursion, Vinci can be reached by car from Selva di Monte in under 30 minutes.

• Villas and gardens in the Florence countryside

Around Florence there is a wealth of villas and palaces - often unknown to many- with mesmerizing gardens where which have been designed by some of the greatest architects of all times immersed in the luscious Tuscan countryside.
The garden itself, beside the palace, became a form of art during the 16th-17th century. The rural setting would provide the architect with an extra expressive dimension: the woods and the wild nature surrounding the villa acted as a striking contrast with the orderly flower beds and alleys of the garden and surprised those who were walking in the open countryside and suddenly met perfectly cultivated areas.
This is, perhaps, a less usual but equally captivating, trip among stunning villas and gardens with geometric paths, grottos and water features.

• A hidden jewel in the Chianti region: Villa Vignamaggio

The overwhelming Villa Vignamaggio can be found near Greve in Chianti, right in the heart of the Chianti Classico region.
Passing through Greve in Chianti and going towards Panzano, you reach a crossroad with the indications for Vignamaggio. After some gentle bends, winding as a ribbon among the rounded Chianti hills, you get to Vignamaggio. Climb the short street framed with cypresses leading to the villa, in order to discover this incredible estate made of a harmonious jigsaw puzzle of the villa, the vineyards, the olive-groves, the Italian garden and the wood.
The villa, around which everything was then established, has very ancient origins: the original core dates back to the XIV century. Until the first half of the 1800s it belonged to the Gherardini family which, among its most famous members, has Monna Lisa Gherardini, who became famous as the Leonardo da Vinci’s Monnalisa or Gioconda. Later the villa belonged to the Castelbarco Albani Sanminiatelli family. Since 1988 the owner is Gianni Nunziante.
Today the villa is the centre of the farm where a superb Chianti Classico is produced. We recommend joining a guided wine tasting tour to the cellars, to appreciate the d.o.c.g wines, riserva, vinsanto and grappa. The restaurant offers dishes of traditional inspiration and is well worth a visit.

• The Tuscan Archipelago.

Nowhere like in Tuscany can you find such a perfect balance of stunning landscapes, great art and amazing food. However, not everybody knows that Tuscany is also a maritime paradise, with an archipelago which can be discovered with a short Mediterranean cruise. The Tuscan archipelago is one of the largest maritime nature reserves and it really captivates cruise aficionados with the beauty of its splendid seven islands.
Some of these islands are not inhabited; others are tiny private islands while others, like Elba, are inhabited all year long. You won't have time to get bored: the Tuscan archipelago is full of surprises. There is always another place to explore and another beach to relax and sunbathe on.
The main cruise lines, as well as the small tour operators offer inclusive cruises with experienced guides who will accompany you in all your activities from snorkelling to scuba diving.
The stunning beauty of this uncontaminated nature is worth the trip.

• The Montesiepi chapel and San Galgano Abbey.

Near Chiusdino, in the Siena area, there are two places perhaps not among the most widely known spots of Tuscany, but certainly full of charm, due to their beauty and the history behind them: the Montesiepi chapel and San Galgano abbey. The chapel is linked with the figure of Saint Galgano (1148-1181) full of Arthurian reminiscemces, starting from a sword stuck in stone dating back to the 12th century and still preserved in the chapel.
A few kms away stand the imposing ruins of San Galgano abbey: a Cistercian architectural jewel made even more stunning by the lack of its roof which collapsed in the centuries after the monks abandoned the place at the end of the 15th century. The exterior walls of the abbey and the apse still stand majestic, while the Chapter House is still intact. Nowadays the abbey is used in the Summer for open-air concerts.

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