San Casciano in Val di Pesa
"THE PARIS OF CHIANTI", WHERE TRADITION MARRIES THE AVANT-GARDE
lready settled in the time of the Etruscans, during the Roman era, San Casciano in Val di Pesa was a communication outpost located at the tenth mile from Florence. In 1200 A.D., considered a strategic location, it became a military outpost to protect the Tuscan capital from dangers coming from Siena, and subsequently, imposing city walls were built, which are still visible today for over a kilometre.
Among the streets of the town you can find the Museo Giuliano Ghelli inside the church of Santa Maria del Gesù o del Suffragio, in which you can admire a number of archeological exhibits and a rich display of sacred artworks, among the most outstanding of these being works of local masters from the 13th through 16th centuries, such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Lippo di Benivieni, and Neri di Bicci.
Nearby is the church of Santa Maria del Prato, also known as Santa Maria della Misericordia. It is an example of a type of architecture easily found among the many churches in the region and displays the Crucifix of Simone Martini inside.
San Casciano offers interesting artistic experiences even if you are simply strolling through the streets of the town centre: on the top of the walls the Cervo (the Stag) by Mario Merz stands proudly, followed by a neon numerical progression inspired by Fibonacci’s mathematical sequence. Contemporary art lives on in the works of Tusciaelecta scattered about the territory and in the sculptures of Mauro Staccioli, one of which can be seen at the foot of the Tower of Luciana.
"Archeology and villas, nature and fine flavors, welcome to the north of Chianti"
The place to go for a picnic is the Parco La Botte next to the River Pesa, near the capital; it is ideal for those who want to cool off alongside the rushing waters of the Pesa or take a bike ride in nature or hike to various archeological sites in the area.
If you are keen on archeology, the panoramic trail through the olive groves and vineyards, in La Collina, leads to the famous Tomba dell’arciere (Tomb of the Archer), an Etruscan work from the 7th century B.C. that is not to be missed.
The many villas scattered among the hills evoke images of noble families in Renaissance halls: Villa Tattoli in the valley of the Sugana River, Villa Mangiacane, probably designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti and Giorgio Vasari, Villa Montepaldi, which belongs to the University of Florence, and the other also known as the Albergaccio, home of Niccolò Machiavelli, where he wrote The Prince while in exile.
In the green heart of Tuscany, you can find a territory known all over the world for its beauty. Let’s talk about Chianti, a region rich in vineyards and olive groves, where slow living has become a universal keyword.
Other places to see
Agritourism farms, emblems of sustainability, are the type of accommodation that most distinguishes this land of rural farmhouses scattered throughout the silence of the countryside. The castles, villas, and historic homes are immersed in a noble atmosphere that evokes times gone by. Awakening in Chianti is a unique experience.