There is no limit to the bountiful villages that the region of Tuscany so richly offers, but one that is close to my heart is the small but mighty town of Carmignano, nestled beautifully in the Chianti Montalbano hills and inhabited since the Paleolithic era. This is a landscape with cypress trees, rolling hills and well-tended vineyards and olive groves that would inspire any artist offering a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape city life.
As someone who lives in the heart of a city like Florence, getting “away” from it all takes on an entirely more necessary tone. As much as I completely embrace the daily chaos in our popular Renaissance city, it’s the life-blood of places deep inside the Tuscan countryside like Carmignano that are arguably the region’s best kept secrets.
Besides the actual town itself, the territory offers plenty to visit in terms of Medici-era villas and great churches, but my advice is to give a little love to Carmignano itself, it being a town well worth exploring for a half-day or more.
When to go? There are a number of events that Carmignano is well known for but the most famous is definitely the annual Festa di San Michele with the Palio dei ciuchi, an event that takes place at the end of every September, pitting the town’s four neighborhoods (white, blue, yellow, green) against one another with an unusual race involving donkeys. Every third Sunday of October the sale of their prized dried figs open officially in a special festival with local producers dedicated to the delicious local delicacy in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II from 9-19.