In the Middle Ages, at the dawn of the Humanism, the hills around Florence already housed small art works and nature’s masterpieces.
Churches, castles, gardens, villas, abbeys and well farmed meadows characterized the landscape: Michel de Montaigne wrote in 1582: “…in Tuscany all the fields look like gardens…”.
Small towns like Bagno a Ripoli and Fiesole lie just a few miles far from Florence, and here you can enjoy breathtaking views in a full relaxed atmosphere.
The well balanced relationship between man and nature is still a heritage of these people; good food is an important part of the local tradition: from the “ribollita” to the famous Florentine steaks and the hare, or the duck à l’orange. Every traditional meal is just like a travel back to the Renaissance.
Despite a fast urban, as well as economical, development has characterized most of the Florentine plain for the last years, especially in small towns like Sesto Fiorentino, Campi Bisenzio, Poggio a Caiano, Signa, Scandicci and Calenzano, we still can find important witnesses of the past.
Churches, palaces, villas with wonderful gardens still survive close to modern industrial plants, where the old handicraft tradition has grown and improved thanks to the new working techniques.
The wonderful Villa Medicea by Poggio a Caiano, bought by Lorenzo de Medici in order to transform it into his personal country house, is surely one of the note worthiest places to see, together with the route called Strada dei Colli Alti, near Sesto Fiorentino, whence you can have a beautiful view over the city of Florence.