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Visita il Mugello, culla dei Medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane

Visiting Tuscany




Prato is the second-largest city in Tuscany and became the capital of a new province in 1992, before which it had been part of the province of Firenze.

The entrepreneur from Prato, Giuliano Gori, has turned his 18th century Fattoria di Celle in the Pistoia area into a kind of art gallery. Both the park and the interior of this splendid villa house works by great modern artists, who stay at the villa and produce their work on site so that they fit naturally into the context of the villa.

The local cuisine is traditional Tuscan, with the notable exception of the famous cantucci di Prato, dry biscuits with large pieces of almond inside that are excellent when dipped in Vin Santo, and the bozza di Prato, a round bread loaf typical of the city.

The Valle del Bisenzio runs between the ridge of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines and the Calvana hills (visible from the Florentine plain of the Arno), and joins the provinces of Prato and Pistoia on the boundary of the central segment of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines. The boundary pass, 700m above sea level, is in an ideal position to cross from north to south. Work started on the Firenze-Bologna railway in 1913, was interrupted by the war, but was finished in 1934 after the completion of long sections of tunnel which make up 45% of the entire route.
There's a great variety of scenery in this valley, ranging from the bleak peaks of the Appennines to the hills and the plain. The first settlements in the area date back to the Etruscans and Romans. In the medieval period, the valley developed as a communications route through to the Pianura Padana.

In the 1500s, the hilly areas of the valley were chosen by rich Florentine families like the Medici and Bardi as the site for splendid villa-estates, which had a positive knock-on effect on the agriculture of the area. Finally, around about 1850, various industrial activities began to spring up in the valley bottom, 'adding' to the view with factories and chimney stacks.
The most important villages in the valley are Vaiano, Vernio, and Montepiano.

Picture by Sandro Santioli
Illustration by Olga Bruno

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