While many are currently planning their 2015 trips to Italy, and quite possibly Tuscany, we want to provide you with a few suggestions of places that we adore and that are easy to reach. Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort is only a short train ride from Florence and if you come with a car, you will have access to so many interesting areas of the region.
One such day-trip that we highly recommend is to the stunning former Medici residence, the incredible Villa Demidoff (formally called Medicean Paggeria of Pratolino) which is nestled in the little town of Pratolino, only 15 minutes north of Florence. During the summer, this is one of the best areas of Tuscany to picnic on the weekends and stroll how you would imagine they did in Renaissance times.
History of Villa Demidoff
The name ‘Demidoff’ comes from the rich Russian Russian Prince Paolo II Demidoff, who purchased the neglected Medici Villa in the 1870’s and restored the residence by also placing grand statues in the surrounding grounds which still impress people today. It is a place that brings together mythology, classical arts and philosophy.
The Villa itself has many famous names attached to itself. From Francesco de’ Medici aka the Grand Duke of Tuscany who bought the property into the Medici family in 1568, the talented architect Bernardo Buontalenti who made the park ‘the garden of the wonders’ and the famous sculptor Giambologna. It is rumored that The Grand Duke bought this property to make it into a ‘fairy tale’ for second wife Bianca Cappello.
The Renaissance villa has been destroyed but the park is still intact and one of the most marvelous in Tuscany. It is also a place to discover nature, with plenty of ancient trees (tall oaks and cedars, and plane trees), flora and fauna – if you get lucky you will see a wild deer or foxes who often wander in this area, especially in the areas less used by humans.
The Colossal Statue
The first statue that everyone always associates with Villa Demidoff is undoubtedly the large statue of the Appennine or ‘Zeus’ (God of the rains) built by Giambologna (1579-80). . The one you see is a replica of the original which has been moved to the Boboli gardens in Florence. Also check out Cupid’s Grotto by Buontaltenti and the Fountain of Mugnone with Giambologna’s statue, under the great Zeus.
How to Visit
Villa Demidoff ” Pratolino Park: Via Fiorentina, 276
Pratolino, Vaglia (FI). The park typically opens the beginning of April on the weekends, normally all summer. Call for a guided tour. For more information, please read this article by Discover Tuscany.
Tel. 055 4080734 – 055 4080777 (call if you want to make sure they are open)
Only about 11km from Florence, by bus take ATAF #25A Pratolino from Piazza San Marco and get off at the last stop. From Villa Campestri, travel time by car is roughly one hour.
The villas and the Medici gardens scattered throughout Tuscany are many but 14 of them have entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. Discover with us the Medici Villa of Trebbio: the World Heritage in Mugello!
Mugello is a territory characterized by an extensive basin with a narrow flat strip along the Sieve, a vast central area of hills and a large mountainous area. But where exactly is located the Mugello?
Olive oil is one of the key foods of the Mediterranean diet. Tasty, healthy and always used by man. Discover with us how to store olive oil!
A journey into taste that starts from the famous Pecorino Toscano and reaches the goat cheese of Alto Mugello. Discover with us which are the best typical Tuscan cheeses!
During the fifteenth century, a vast cultural renewal took place in Italy which took the name of Renaissance. Discover with us which are the greatest artists of the second Renaissance!
Also this year one of the most attested moments of the summer is approaching: Ferragosto! Discover with us what to do in Ferragosto 2019 in Mugello!
Every year in Vicchio there is an ancient festival linked to the traditions of this beautiful village in Mugello. Discover with us all the info and the program of the Fiera Calda of Vicchio 2019!
To become a good rider it is not necessary to start riding at an early age, this is why horse riding is a sport that undoubtedly attracts everyone. Here are the best places to learn to ride a horse near Florence!