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Itineraries of the via Medicea


First Stage | Medici farmhouses - Artimino

  • length: 19.2 km
  • degree of difficulty: easy
  • time needed for the journey only: 5h 40 '
  • time needed considering the stops: 9h

Historical, architectural and landscape emergencies:

  1. Medici farmhouses
  2. Manetti Bridge
  3. Park of the Barco di poggio a Caiano
  4. Medici villa of Poggio a Caiano
  5. Bonistallo church and panorama
  6. Historical village the green Petraiapatriarca (Leccio, Quercus ilex) at Villa Rasponi
  7. The castle and the Campano di Carmignano with its panorama
  8. Visitation of Pontormo at the church of SS. Michele and Francesco - Carmignano
  9. Historic aqueduct of the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano
  10. Panorama of the Verzani
  11. House panorama farm Pianale Medicean
  12. Villa La Ferdinanda di Artimino

The first stage contains three historical-architectural and landscape jewels of the entire route (the Cascine and the villas of Poggio a Caiano and Artimino), built by the Medici over the long period from the end of the fifteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth century. This means that the hiker who travels this stage has the opportunity to know and appreciate the evolution of the territorial policy of the Medici family as it was changing and adapting to the political-economic, social and cultural conditions of the Tuscan and Italian landscape. From the Cascine di Lorenzo, an absolutely avant-garde agricultural production model, to the villas symbol of magnificence and domination of the ruling house and also architectural and artistic models referable to different cultural currents: the one of Poggio a Caiano, forerunner of the seventeenth-century artistic culture that of Artimino.

But it is the imprint on the landscape made by the Medici that perhaps most characterizes this stage of the Via Medicea as a whole. Despite the signs impressed by the passage of time, this landscape maintains a very clear imprint - to those who have the tools to read and decipher it - received a few centuries ago. The profound objective of the Via Medicea lies precisely in this, that is, in providing the essential tools to be able to read the signs of an important past that the current landscape still contains. From the most immediate such as those just mentioned, to the more minute and less visible, such as a historic village and a crossroads of panorama, to those that are even invisible because they are underground (the aqueduct of the villa of Poggio a Caiano).


Second Stage | Artimino - Bacchereto

  • length: 22.1 km
  • degree of difficulty: medium
  • time needed for the journey only: 6h 15 '
  • time needed considering the stops: 7h 25 '

Historical, architectural and landscape emergencies:

  1. Etruscan necropolis of Prato Rosello
  2. Parish church of San Leonardo in Artimino
  3. Abbey of San Martino in Campo
  4. Verghereto farm and panorama
  5. San Giusto abbey
  6. Pietramarina archaeological area
  7. Sasso del Diavolo
  8. Panorama over the Carmignano hills and the Florentine-Prato plain

The second stage constitutes, together with the next one, the most 'naturalistic' part of the entire route, developing first on the highest belt of the hills that lean on the northern flank of Montalbano, and then on the ridge itself of this relief, cloaked by existing woods. continuously from the end of the Middle Ages to today.

It is precisely the very clear dividing line, still very visible today, that represents the main sign of that landscape literally built by man over the course of centuries-old history. Below are the historical cultivations that from the plain go up the slopes of the relief as far as the lithology and the slope have allowed, strongly influencing the technique and technology available to man over the centuries. On these crops, a real agricultural reservoir since the Middle Ages for the nearby cities of Pistoia (before) and Florence (after), the modifying signs brought by the Medici with their villas, with quality agriculture (the production grand ducal wine branded by the edict of 1716 by Cosimo III), the great hunting reserve (the Royal Barco), symbol of an era that united the courts of all of Europe.

Here and there, precisely in a point-like way, the itinerary shows the signs of eras preceding the arrival of the Medici (Antiquity and the Middle Ages) which still today distinguish the upper part of Montalbano as the Etruscan settlements, churches, abbeys . In memory of these distant periods, when Nature imposed its laws on a man endowed with a little more than rudimentary technology, there are the woods of Montalbano and some natural emergencies (the Macigno monoliths, the vegetational biotopes).


Third Stage | Bacchereto - Vinci

  • length: 18 km
  • degree of difficulty: medium
  • time needed for the journey only: 6h 40'
  • time needed considering the stops: 8h

Historical-architectural and landscape emergencies

  1. Panorama on the hills of Carmignano
  2. Holm oak of Poggio Ciliegio
  3. Sant’Alluccio tower
  4. Panorama on Valdarno di Sotto, Fucecchio marshes and Monte Serra-Alpi Apuane
  5. Ancient places of Fornello factory
  6. Church of S. Maria in Orbignano
  7. Ancient street of Orbignano
  8. Historical plumbing systems

The third stage, which runs through both the upper part of Montalbano and its southern slopes, open to the luminous Valdarno di Sotto, is characterized by an imprint halfway between the most naturalistic aspect (always meaning a Nature 'granted' and conditioned by 'anthropic work) and the historical-architectural one, where the Middle Ages are king, even if there are emergencies of the following centuries.

The ridge of the mountain offers the hiker who travels the Via Medicea strips of wood of absolute naturalistic importance and some panoramic views, made even more precious for its rarity. These are open views of the great Florentine-Pistoia basin that allow a 'sensitive' eye to grasp significant notions on how contemporary man has organized himself in the management of spaces and in the use of non-reproducible natural resources.

The descent along the southern slope offers the hiker more than a reason for comparison, reflection and therefore for acquired knowledge, with the route and the landscape crossed by the Via Medicea up to that moment. The upper part of northern Montalbano is as steep, wooded and shaded as it is homogeneously sloping, with the cultivated fields that go up almost to the ridge and dotted with historic buildings lying on the sloping shelves, the southern slope of Montalbano. It is a very clear morphological diversity that is reflected in a different use of the land and its resources that man has applied throughout his settlement history of the entire Montalbano. The batteries of mills that dot the numerous streams that descend from the upper part of the mountain, testify to the exploitation by man of hydraulic energy in the long period preceding the arrival of steam (first) and electricity in the countryside (after). Vinci and Leonardo's engineering genius are the emblem of this stage of the Vai Medicea.

Fourth stage | Vinci - Fucecchio

  • length: 16.7 km
  • easy degree of difficulty
  • time needed for the journey only: 4h 10 '
  • time needed considering the stops: 5h

Historical, architectural and landscape emergencies:

  1. Panorama on the hilly landscape of San Pantaleo
  2. Medici villa of Cerreto Guidi
  3. Clayey landscape at the edge of the Fucecchio
  4. Marshes historic farm of Petriolo
  5. Medieval castle and villa Corsini with the historic park historic
  6. Center of Fucecchio

The fourth stage of the Via Medicea takes the hiker back to a hilly, soft and sinuous landscape, as in the first stage. But the similarity is only apparent since both the geological genesis generating this landscape, compared to the events that characterized the formation of the Florentine-Prato-Pistoia basin, and the history of man who has drawn resources precisely from the landscape which has had to face the difficulties and the constraints it posed. A story, however, that was strongly impressed here throughout the Middle Ages also by a 'cultural' factor that was able to 'suggest' other tools and solutions to man himself, coming from completely different contexts: the Via Francigena.

As the hiker walks away from Montalbano and heads towards Fucecchio, the landscape loses not only the forest cover but also its roughness replaced by the rounded profiles of hills in centuries-old 'movement' due to their geological constitution (purely clayey) , which only a backbreaking centuries-old work carried out by generations of peasant families, organized on the sharecropping contract, has been able to stabilize, preventing it from sliding down. A painstaking work repeated for centuries using simple but effective agricultural tools; a work that regulates the surface waters, building grassy edges, making a soil that is certainly not optimal for cultivation in the "most moving landscape", an authentic garden, as it was several times during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries defined as the hilly Tuscany by foreign travelers who traveled the year during their great tours.

The Medici villa of Cerreto Guidi accompanies the walker who heads towards Fucecchio reminding him of the severe marshy environment that looms very close, at the foot of the same hills, and that surrounds the entire Montalbano through the Valdinievole from the North-West. Right on the edge of this basin, where the waters and the mainland mutually exchange dominion, forcing man to a lifestyle (swamp economy) completely different from that adopted on the neighboring hills and on Montalbano, the Medici implemented a another decisive territorial policy that deserves to be known.