Unbeaten Path Tour of Tuscany: Florence, Mugello, Borgo San Lorenzo

A 8 day trip to Italy 
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Step into the hidden towns of Tuscany tucked away along the northern border of the province. The imagery leaps out of a storybook, filled with rolling hills, towering mountains, cool streams, and quaint villages. Palaces perch on a hilltop overlooking the valleys below. Traditions persevere in culture and cuisine, adding layers of flavor to every dish. Your custom tailored tour of Tuscany takes you into the lesser-traveled region of Mugello, where the wonders of the past are real, and the treasures of homemade cooking loom large.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Florence, Mugello, Villa Pietra, Parco Mediceo de Pratolino, Trebbio Castle, Via Bolognese, Villa Cafaggiolo, Vaglia, San Piero a Sieve, Barberino di Mugello, Scarperia, Borgo San Lorenzo

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Timeless Views and Flavors

The endless beauty of Florence sits inside the medieval walls of the historic city emanating from centuries of artistic exploration, from painting to architecture, science to cuisine. The city center holds the images of Michelangelo and Dante Alighieri, Galileo and Brunelleschi. People line up outside of I Fratellini of Via di Calzaiuoli for a small sandwich and glass of wine, enjoying the feeling of smooth cobblestones beneath their feet. An assortment of fresh gelato decorate the display cases of Perche No! The creamy and sweet confections have an intoxicating aroma drifting out of the small shop.

Take in a view of the city at Piazzale Michelangelo, absorbing a panorama of Florence with the large dome of the Cathedral standing at its core. The brick reflects a deep red in the sunlight. Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, decorates the Arno River. The bridge was constructed in the 14th-century and has Roman roots. Gold and silversmiths have inhabited the shops along the bridge for centuries.

Florence is quick to embrace and enchant you, filled with contemporary energy inside a detailed and preserved past. In the evening, you can dine on succulent pear and gorgonzola tortellini at a small, secluded restaurant across the river with a view of the piazza.

What’s Included: transfer, dinner, accommodation

Day 2: Intentional Beauty

The bells from Giotto’s Bell Tower chime on special occasions, detailed in a codex dating back to the 14th-century. The bell tower stands more than 277-feet tall. The morning light glints off of the white façade and highlights the pinkish hues. Florence tours are led by a guide eager to escort you on a private tour of the city. You will see the highlights that make Florence so special, and you will soon discover that the streets of Florence have a vibrant quality.

Your guide points out a stone plaque hung on the façade of Badia Fiorentina, one of the oldest churches in the city dating back to the 10th-century. The plaque is placed below an important historical figure of the city and commemorates the line, verse, and book of which a person or location was referenced in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. History spills out of every corner of the city, especially inside Santa Croce Church. The church was erected in the 13th-century and has a neo-Gothic façade. One of the many draws of the church are the funerary monuments of famous Florentine’s, including Machiavelli and Galileo. The tomb resembles a marble statue, commemorating the scientist with a bust looking up to the stars.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Unique Palace View 

Morning in Florence is quiet and serene. The sweet and buttery aroma of freshly baked brioches drifts down the streets. The piazzas are empty of people. The cafes fill with locals sipping on espresso before venturing to work. When the active energy returns to the city, your guide meets you at the hotel ready to take you on a private tour of Villa La Pietra. The palace was once owned by the Action family and is now used by New York University as an accommodation to students studying abroad. The villa is open for guests to explore the grounds two weeks out of the year. The history of the villa dates back to the 15th-century. The Baroque façade adds to the luster of the grounds.

The interior contains more than 5,000 objects including Italian paintings and Renaissance polychrome sculptures. There is also a splendid library with more than 10,000 books. The gardens have a Renaissance design, imitating those of Florence with a slight influence from other garden fashions as well. Each room of the house provides a stunning view of the gardens. Hedges act like walls guiding you along the pebbled walkways. Fountains trickle in the warm mid-morning sun. The lushness of the garden adds to the grandeur of the villa, showcasing the size of the grounds, the marbled statue décor, and framing the elegant architecture of the villa itself.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, dinner, accommodation

Day 4: Continuing Castles

After breakfast, your guide once again meets you at the hotel. Locals row along the Arno River in the cool morning air, enjoying the solitude of the water. The hills outside of the city are lined with towering cypress trees. You see the occasional vineyard climbing the hillside. Oak and chestnut trees give the hills a fresh and fragrant air. When you reach Trebbio Castle, you find one of the first Medici villas erected outside of Florence. The castle stands atop a hill along the Apennines and was erected on the ruins of a feudal tower and fortified. A central courtyard adds a touch of openness to the windowless tower.

The walled gardens and stone pergola on the upper terrace provided much-needed greenery to the castle, and also indicates a secondary purpose for the edifice. The stone has a creamy sheen in the afternoon light. The entire complex has a storybook design and atmosphere and is set overlooking the lush valley known as Val di Sieve. When you reach the cellars, you find a cool climate encased in stone. People have been able to store wine around the region for centuries due to the controlled temperature and moisture of the room. The elegance of the castle, along with its captivating history is undeniable.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, dinner, accommodation

Day 5: Sampling the Mugello

The statues inside the Loggia dei Lanzi stand proudly against the southwest wall of Piazza della Signoria. Perseus holds the head of Medusa connecting the Renaissance artwork to the celebrated enlightened mythology of the Greeks, which feels fitting in the way the world views contemporary Florence in connection to its Renaissance past. After breakfast, your guide leads you to the hillsides of Mugello once more, traveling along the border of Tuscany and its neighboring province to the north, Emilia-Romagna. The waters of the Upper River Sieve pass along the Apennine Mountains. Monte Giovi and Monte Senario help divide the Arno Valley from Mugello. Castles decorate the hills, some of which you have recently visited.

The azure waters of Lake of Bilancino reflect the surrounding greenery of the Tuscan hills. You reach the hilltop town of Dicomano, located 531 feet above sea level. The town looks over the Sieve Valley and was erected by the Romans, and was settled by the Etruscans before them. The town is located near important historical roads that made it a center for commerce across Italy in the Middle Ages. The neoclassical Sant’Onofrio Oratory is adorned with a statue of Mary, flanked by two pious angels. The ceiling underneath the entry pavilion is made of wood and etched against the marble Doric columns supporting the façade. The interior has tall vaulted ceilings and ornately carved leaves decorating the crown molding.

In the evening, you can settle into a quaint local restaurant lit by candles. The aroma of simmering meat sauce adds to the ambiance. The region is known for tortello di patate, a square ravioli filled with mashed potato, cheese, garlic, and parsley. Each bite is topped with a luscious ragú with a savory taste that lingers.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, dinner, accommodation

Day 6: Discovering Mugello

Mugello has preserved its authentic historic qualities with care and consideration to the traditions of each town, and the surrounding natural beauty of the region. Horses graze on the tall grasses near the tree line. Unpaved roads wind along the foothills of the Apennines. The town of Firenzuola was erected in the 14th-century by order of the Florence Council to stem the power of the Ubaldinis. The town was rebuilt after the Second World War amid the lushness of the bordering woods and sloping gorges.

The Santerno River flows against the edges of town with ice cold water fed by melting snow. You can see the town’s resemblance to Florence, from the architecture along the streets to the encompassing landscape. The Fiorentina and Bolognese gates were built in the 15th-century and have maintained their original grandeur. The fortress, known as La Rocca, dates back to the 14th-century and houses the current town hall. Remains of the ancient Roman road, Via Flaminia, travel near Futa Pass, and once led through the mountains onward to the Adriatic Coast.

In the town of Marradi, you experience a hidden corner of Tuscany set on the border of the province. Cobbled streets line the town, paving the roads between noble palaces and historic public buildings. The city has a relaxed pace and looks out to endless verdant fields sweeping along the horizon. The town is also home to the Marrone di Marradi, considered the world’s finest chestnut. The sweetness and earthy flavor of the chestnut embodies the charming balance of the town and Mugello.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, dinner, accommodation

Day 7: The White Gold of Mugello

Outside of Florence, the lush hills of Tuscany undulate underneath towering forest and sweeping farms. Chestnut oaks and olive groves border grazing cattle. Medieval towns rise from around the hillsides, and you visit the treasured Milk Route, known as La Via del Latte. The road connects around 30 of the regions best dairy farms and introduces visitors to the various stages to produce milk in accordance with the high quality standards of the region.

The roads around Mugello are marked with brown signs designating each farm. At Palazzo Vecchio, you find a farm dating back to the mid-1970s and encompassing 126-acres of land. A number of black and white cows graze on the lush grass of Tuscany. Your guide introduces you to the farmland and the tremendous scenery of the Mugello region. The cows are herded into a milking area for a demonstration; farmhands show you how a cow is properly milked, along with where the milk is processed in order to perform the next stage of pasteurization. At the end of your tour, there are a variety of products set on a table, each one made from the fresh milk produced at the farm. When you sip the milk, you find it creamy, cool, and refreshing. You never thought that something as simple as milk could highlight the beauty of an entire region, until now.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Road to Home

Florence has a familiar feeling wrapped in the aroma of freshly brewed espresso, blending with the earthy scent of the historic stone buildings. The leather stores around San Lorenzo open along the calm streets of the morning. The city boasts 134 trattorias, each highlighting the specific flavors of Tuscany and utilizing the regional farms around Florence.

Soon your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Florence International Airport for your flight home. For now, you can stroll along the streets of the city and take in the beauty once more, reveling in the uniqueness of the preserved Renaissance, the exceptional cuisine, and the allure of the city’s timelessness.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Starting Price 

$2,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.