Slow Florence Tours
Slow travel is the basic concept behind Slow Florence Tours; stopping and taking the time to admire what has always been there but we usually have no time for, experiencing a place with all our senses.
A stay, possibly a whole week, of guided walks through the hills of Villamagna, in the immediate surroundings of Florence. To have the opportunity to get to know the environment and the people who belong to it and to appreciate it accordingly, thus enjoying more the everyday life of the area.
Not a full agenda of visiting famous sites one after the other, but leisurely days in harmony with nature, a relaxed rhythm to allow yourself time, and fewer destinations in order to experience them thoroughly.
My name is Sandra Fanti and I am a true Florentine, born and raised in the city of Florence. Since my teenage years I had always had the desire to live in the countryside, where my maternal family came from.
In 1987 I started working as a tour guide, discovering hidden wonderful spots all over Tuscany, becoming fascinated by them, eventually leading me to specialize in wine and gastronomy.
In 1992 I became certified as an official Florence city guide, and ever since I have been showing the art and architectural treasures of my hometown to travelers from all over the world.
How it got started
The birth of Slow Florence Tours
After a well-received and successful ElbaNostra trial trip I put together in autumn 2020, I then met and showed around with pleasure the last European visitors in my home town of Florence, until the restrictions became tighter and the museums and monuments were shut down again.
That was when it dawned on me that the area where I have lived for over 20 years is an ideal destination close to home, wonderful hilly countryside with a wide choice of marked and unmarked hiking trails, in the immediate vicinity of Florence. A lucky discovery and the birth of Slow Florence Tours.
With enthusiasm and focus I have walked all the paths within 20 km of my house, admiring the wonderful landscape of hills, mountains and valleys. I have glimpsed stone farmhouses that have remained unchanged, medieval castles, and villages with their Romanesque country churches, called pievi in Italian. I have crossed hidden bridges in the woods, walked past wonderful historic villas, through olive groves and vineyards, in the woods with their autumn colors, and along quiet streams, allowing myself to be enchanted by the fragrance of the evergreen shrubs and plants known as Mediterranean maquis.
All this had always been there, right outside my door, with the city of Florence visible down in the valley. I had always known and appreciated it, but have now, with time on my hands, discovered a new potential, an alternative when closures necessitate new ideas.
In the past years I have guided travelers from all over the world through Florence and to other well-known areas of Tuscany, without even realizing that the most beautiful landscape is around the city itself, and that it is easily accessible on foot.
Now that I have thoroughly explored this fascinating area, really close to Florence, I would like to share its beauty with people like you looking for authentic wonderful places to experience. I would love to show you my local countryside of Villamagna in the municipality of Bagno a Ripoli, where you’d stay in a private apartment of Agriturismo Villa Violeta, a recently renovated farmhouse in the countryside. Being close by, I could devote more time to you. You’d be able to stroll to my home before or after walks and excursions where I’d invite you to relax in my living room, cook together in my kitchen, or eat in my garden while enjoying views of Florence. Truly experiencing an authentic homey Tuscan lifestyle.
Every day I will walk with you through the surrounding hills, pausing at the most beautiful places, stopping at a bottega for a snack or a typical trattoria for a lunch of local dishes.
It’s also possible to spend one of your days visiting Florence with me where I can show you its wealth of significant sites. Or if you’re already familiar with the city we can always explore its lesser known corners.
Another one of your days you could visit a historic winery off the beaten path, tasting their wines as well as local delicacies. One of your evenings I’d like you to dine with a Florentine family in a private home.
At my home I offer an apericena in the vineyard and even a cooking class with Tuscan dishes.
This specialized kind of trip and accommodation is meant for people who like to travel individually, experiencing the local culture, at a relaxing pace. My aim is to impart a sense of serenity, a feeling of belonging, absorbing the atmosphere effortlessly.