Thanks to its geographic and touristic position, in central Tuscany and home to first-class art cities like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano and Volterra, Empolese Valdelsa and Montalbano can be considered the heart of Tuscany; it’s the ideal place for a holiday and an excellent starting point for a wide range of excursions.
Nature in the area is varied and well-kept, counting amongst its blessings the classic stereotype of the Tuscan landscape, dominated by rolling hills and alternated with forests and farmed fields, all of which has been shaped under the watchful eye of man. Typical products are harvested in this landscape, primarily grapes and olives, respecting the sacredness of an environment exalted by the presence of centuries-old villages that are highly significant from an urban and historical point of view.
This territory is perfect for those who love slow tourism in nature, characterized by walks and excursions. The north is dominated by the protected area of Montalbano, a mountain boasting a dense network of hiking trails and itineraries. At the foot of the mountain is the Fucecchio Marsh, a wetland where birdwatchers can observe more than 190 species and interesting types of plant life.
This large and varied area is surely known for its multiple activities available to all kinds of travellers. The territory is traversed by several kilometres of the via Francigena, passing, for example, by Castelfiorentino and Gambassi. Art lovers, on the other hand, can explore some of the villages, like Capraia a Limite, Montespertoli and Montaione, the latter of which is home to the Convent of San Vivaldo. Visit the museum dedicated to Benozzo Gozzoli in Castelfiorentino or explore the rooms of the Medici villa in Cerreto Guidi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hills around Montalbano are the very ones where Leonardo da Vinci was born and which he depicted in many of his paintings. To try and understand his genius, you can visit the Leonardo Museum in Vinci. Equally interesting is the world of craftsmanship, which Empoli and Montelupo Fiorentino are particularly famous for, the latter being known for its ceramics.
Food and wine in the area is also excellent, with many unique products made right here: from the Certaldo onion to bread in Montaione to exquisite cheeses like the historic pecorino from the village of Lucardo. Thanks to this being a fertile land for growing grapes and olives, some eno-gastronomic itineraries have bene developed, including the the Montalbano – Colline di Leonardo Wine and Olive Oil Trail and the Chianti Montespertoli DOCG Wine Trail, based on authentic productions that are strictly tied to the territory.