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my Day Trip in Mugello

Last week I decided to spend a Sunday in Mugello, a wonderful corner of tuscan countryside, rich in nature, art and history, just a few kilometres away from Florence.
Mugello was dominated by Etruscan first, then by Romans. In the middle ages was territory of the Guidi and Ubaldini families, whose fought Florence. Then from 1300 the Mugello became an important area for Florence, because of its strategic and economic importance.
Several important buildings and fortresses, castles, villas, monasteries and palaces still bear witness to this important period of growth in Mugello. In fact, even the artistic and cultural history of Florence owes much of its development to Mugello: artists such as Giotto and Beato Angelico were born here; important architects worked on the construction of the castles and moreover, the Mugello landscape has provided inspiration for numerous Florentine paintings.

I decided to follow the “Medici Route”, discovering the places where the Medici family lived nad ruled.
The tour starts in Scarperia, which was founded by the town of Florence at the beginning of the 14th century, and still conserves the impressive Palazzo dei Vicari, which was built in the same period but has undergone numerous transformations and restorations throughout the centuries. Palazzo Vicari houses the Museo dei Ferri Taglienti - antique and modern cutlery – as Scarperia is well known for knife handcrafts.
From Scarperia move to the small town of Sant’Agata, where there is a beautiful Romanesque church, the most famous sacred structure in Mugello.
Then visit the Bosco ai Frati Convent, which was built according to Michelozzo’s design, by order of Cosimo dé Medici. Inside, you find the splendid Crucifix by Donatello ( opened only on Saturday and Sunday morning because friars still live here).
Heading towards San Piero a Sieve, you find Villa Medicea of Cafaggiolo, one of the favourite residences of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and a splendid example of Renaissance architecture (visits must be booked). Not far away, towering above you, surrounded by century old cypress trees, you can admire the Trebbio Castle: another magnificent Medici construction (private, visits only in special days).

In the next post I’ll let you know all those wonderful places!

Here's a small useful map of Mugello!


Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria is an square in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Infact it was named after the Palazzo della Signoria, also called Palazzo Vecchio.
Piazza della Signoria is the heart and the core of origin and of the history of the Florentine Republic and today it still maintains its role as the political hub of the city.

Palazzo Vecchio stands proud in the square and give it its uncommon L-shape. Beside Palazzo Vecchio there's the Fountain of Nettuno (read this post about the Neptune fountain!) and a statue of Cosimo I de' Medici.
In front of the Neptune a marble placque remembers the exact place where Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burned in 1498.

Just on the right of Palazzo Vecchio there's the Loggia dei Lanzi o Loggia della Signoria, whit several important marble sculptures, like il Ratto delle Sabine by Giambologna and the Perseo by Cellini.

palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dei Lanzi

palazzo Vecchio
fountain of Nettuno (Neptune)


Uffizi gallery, pictures of the square

Here is Piazzale degli Uffizi, the long narrow square surruonded by the Uffizi Gallery. More infos on the Uffizi Museum are in this post :-)


pictures of Orsanmichele

Other pictures and descripion of Orsanmichele can be found in this post! ;-)

the painting by Bernardo Daddi, "Madonna delle Grazie" and the tabernacle by Orcagna, inside Orsanmichele


Church of Orsanmichele

The church of Orsanmichele was originally a loggia that housed a market, built in the second half of XIII century, but soon people came to venerate an image of the Madonna, considered miraculous.
Il the second half of XIV century a fire destroyed both the loggia and the sacred image, so a new loggia was built and a new image of Madonna delle Grazie, painted by Bernardo Daddi was placed.
The arches of the new loggia soon had been closed, the market moved away and the building became a church. It was the church of the Arts, the powerful medieval corporations of Florence.
Inside the church of Orsanmichele the Madonna delle Grazie by Bernardo Daddi is placed inside a wonderful marble tabernacle made by Orcagna in 1349.
Orsanimchele is a little precious gothic jewel inside the heart of Florence, it sure deserve a visit! Entrance is free and some panels give information about the church and the precious paintings and sculptures housed in it.

Other pictures of Orsanmichele can be found in this post! ;-)


National Library, Florence

The National Central Library of Florence is the biggest library of Italy and one of the biggest of whole Europe.

The library was founded in 1714 by Antonio Magliabechi, who donated his collection of 30,000 volumes to the city of Florence. By 1743 it was required that a copy of every work published in Tuscany be submitted to the library.
In 1861 its holdings were combined with those of the Biblioteca Palatina, and since 1870 the library has collected copies of all Italian publications.

Originally the collections were keeped in some rooms of the Uffizi Gallery, but since 1935 the library have been housed in a building designed by Cesare Bazzaniu and V. Mazzei, located along the Arno River in Santa Croce.

Unfortunately, a major flood of the Arno River in 1966 damaged nearly one-third of the library's holdings, most notably its periodicals and Palatine and Magliabechi collections. The Restoration Center was subsequently established and saved many of these priceless books. However, much work remains to be done and some items are forever lost.


Loggia del Porcellino.

The Loggia del Porcellino, or Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, is located in the heart of Florence, just behind Ponte Vecchio.

The lodge was built around the second half of the XVI century by Giovan Battista del Tasso, and the famous fountain of the Porcellino (Piglet, but it's actually a wild boar!) was made by Pietro Tacca in 1640.

Under the lodge it used to be a silk and fabric market, now the market sells souvenirs, clothing and leather accessories.
Rubbing the piglet's nose brings fortune, so... rub, rub, rub!!! Now the nose is shiny from all this rubbing :-D


Ponte alle Grazie

Here are some picture i took during my last walk in the historical centre of Florence, in an incredibly hot afternoon... this summer Florence had been really hot, this is one of the hottest summers since 200 years... hope fall comes soon!
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