Guided walks in the hills surrounding Florence experiencing nature, history and gastronomy
Guided walks, hikes and excursions combining nature, art and history, commencing either directly from Villamagna or from a predetermined starting point that we’d drive to by car. The guide will provide you with information about the area and its geography, and also about any historical and artistic monuments you’ll be visiting.
All walks in nature are scheduled according to your physical training and ability and are then adapted to your wishes. The duration, steepness of climbs and type of route will be decided upon together based on your preferences and expectations.
The 3 to 4 hour hikes are easy to moderately difficult and cover approximately 8 to 10 km (4 to 6 miles) of trails. The full day excursion of 6 to 8 hours with a lunch break in nature covers a distance of approximately 15 to 20 km (9 to 12 miles).
At the final destination of our excursions and walks, we will have lunch together in typical and authentic trattorias, or in a bottega (country food shop), which I have chosen for you particularly because of their cuisine and special atmosphere. Alternatively we could end our hike at a winery, with a visit to the cellars and a tasting of the wines from their own production accompanied by typical regional dishes.
Depending on the distance, the return trip can be organized by taxi.
Here are some of the excursions that can be personalized to your available time:
- Medieval CASTLES of VILLAMAGNA and DA VINCI’S ROMAJOLO BRIDGE easy HIKE with SNACK OF TUSCAN DELICACIES at the local DISPENSA – 3 hours.
In the municipal territory of Bagno a Ripoli to discover places and historical monuments that are not mentioned in any guidebook.
They are easily reachable in a few minutes from the center of Florence and quickly you will be in the real countryside and in an unexpected dimension for being so close to the city.
Florence will still remain visible at the bottom of the valley with breathtaking views throughout your excursion while discovering the beauty of the hills around the city.
The walk, if in the afternoon, allows views with spectacular sunsets over the city.
Together with your guide, an expert in the area and who lives on site, you will walk along easy paths in the woods of pine trees, cypresses, holm oaks and through olive groves fields with the amazing landscapes of the surrounding hills and the city in the Arno valley down below.
You will approach the castles in the area that date back to Longobard settlements, given their strategic hilltop location at the gates of the city. After the territorial expansion of the Florentine Republic they were transformed into farms and villas of the countryside while preserving some of their features of the original medieval fortresses.
The itinerary of about 4 miles is doable in approximately 2 hours.
It starts from the village of Villamagna and will lead you to the castles, now private residences, of Belforte, Nutrici, Monte Acuto and Rignalla, which you can admire from the outside.
In Rignalla the guide will make you discover the medieval bridge of Romajolo, which Leonardo Da Vinci dealt with in his studies on the path of the
Arno river. It was recently restored and freed from the vegetation that for decades had hidden it.
On the way back, after having explored the most panoramic corners of this hilside called Vallina, we will return to Villamagna, where on the the square next to the Romanesque church, you will be welcomed in the small Dispensa di Villamagna – countryside groceries store – to taste the real Tuscan home-made ham, the finocchiona soft fennel salami,the wild boar sausages, the Tuscan pecorino sheep cheese and some bruschettas seasoned with the olive oil and herbs of the area accompanied by a quart of local wine.
Your guide will assist you in your walk by choosing the most characteristic and panoramic route and showing you the monuments of the places visited.
From 65 Eur per person, 2 people minimum.
Available every day, all year around.
You can choose the time which fits your schedule the best.
- INCONTRO hilltop medium HIKE with SNACKS in your guide’s HOME GARDEN – 3 hours
The Incontro hill top is just 2 miles away from the above mentioned village of Villamagna, overlooking the whole Florence valley.
The hike will start at your guide Sandra’s place, a medieval stone famers’ house on a lower hilltop at 1,050 ft elevation and will lead you across vineyards, olive groves fields and woods on easy marked trails.
Stunning views on the city of Florence from different angles and elevations will accompany you all the way until reaching the Incontro hilltop at 1,650 ft elevation, site of the historical monastery of San Leonardo.
The way down will be on a different hillside than the way up, overlooking the upper Arno river valley and the mountains of Secchieta and Pratomagno.
At the end you will return to Sandra’s home 40 min down the hill top, where she will be delighted to host you in her garden surrounded by vineyards and olive trees overlooking the hills and as well the city of Florence down below, serving Tuscan snacks including the tasty home-made Tuscan ham, the finocchiona soft fennel salami, bruschettas seasoned with her own olive oil and herbs, pecorino cheese, all of it paired with seasonal veggies, fruit and a glass of the Chianti Colli Fiorentini local wine.
From 75 Eur per person, 2 people minimum.
Available every day, all year around.
Time subject to the season and sunset
- PANORAMIC easy WALK above RIMAGGIO thru OLIVE GROVES’s fields with LUNCH at ALIMENTARI INNOCENTI featuring seasonal day’s fresh & yummy local dishes – 3 hours
This easy 2,5 miles long walk along the sunny hillsides overlooking the city of Florence and the Arno river down below takes you on marked hiking trails across olives groves fields passing by impressive historical villas and stone famers’ houses.
You’ll be able to discover a very exclusive residential area in the countryside at the border of Florence, though very authentic and pristine.
At the end at Alimentari Innocenti in Candeli you’ll finally will be able to taste Matteo’s dishes. He is a local true master in culinary and pastries art able to turn the fresh ingredients of the traditional Tuscan cooking in creative combinations of flavors. Your three courses lunch will be accompanied by a glass of local wine and a dessert.
Avaialable Mon-Sat, all year around but August.
From 80 Eur per person, 2 people minimum.
- HIKE on the ROMAN ROAD and TRUFFEL HUNTING with GIULIO the famous TRUFFLE MASTER in Terzano – approx 6 hours
This activity in the Terzano area will provide a very easy but amazing uphill hike on a cobble stone ancient road thru the woods then going back down on a comfortable paved road
with stunning views of Florence in the below valley walking past historical villas and ancient stone houses.
About 2,5 hours – 3,5 miles
It will be followed by the Truffle Experience lead by Giulio the Truffel Hunter, the most well known Truffle Hunter in the Bagno Ripoli area.
For the truffle lovers it will be memorable and higly educational!
At the end of the hike Giulio will meet you close to his house in the hills overlooking Florence and he leads you right away truffle hunting with his trained dogs thru the woods for max one hour.
With your catches Giulio takes you to his home where he will give you a short educational introduction on what truffles really are.
Here sipping a glass of wine you will taste the just picked truffles shaved on pecorino cheese and focaccia. If hungry for a full meal Giulio, after the snacks, will be delighted to cook for you preparing eggs and fettuccine with more shaved truffle.
The truffle experience with Giulio takes approx 2,5 hours with snacks and 3,5 hours with a full truffle meal.
The entire activity envolves a full day of approx 6 hrs
Available everyday, all year around
Price on request – 2 people minimum
- HIKE to GUALCHIERE DI REMOLE – medieval fulling factory – with VISIT to the local SCULPTOR’S WORKSHOP (Piero Gensini) on site and WINERY VISIT with WINE TASTING and TUSCAN SNACKS in Rosano – easy – 4 hours
The gualchiere – medieval fulling machines factories – were medieval structures out of town along the river, owned by the City of Florence, where the very famous florentine “panni lana” – woolen fabrics – were made into wind and waterproof – like today’s “Goretex”!!!
Florence became thoughout the 1200s to the early 1500s a wealthy and large trading town thanks to its citizens’ ability of making woolen fabrics of top quality, duration and colours. Its merchants had sold these fabrics successfully for three centuries long all over Europe with no competition. Thanks to these economical events Florence turned out being the craddle of the Renaissance.
Located on the Arno shore (building not accessible) your guide will walk into this medieval small fortified architectural structure on the Arno river south shore approx 8 miles east of Florence. You will continue exploring going on a short walk along the gora – the historical narrow man made canal – all the way to the dam on the river. Thru the “gora” the water was diverted and reached the factory in order to operate with its full speed the presses of the fulling machines.
The Gualchiere has not been inhabited for the last 20 years, but the sculptor Piero Gensini’s workshop continues being active in one of the buildings and it is open to the visitors.
Piero, the artist, will be delighted to welcome you in person and to show you his workhop his awesome sculptures out of different materials, which he has been making there for several decades learning accordingly all the stories, gossips and secrets of this amazing site.
A short, approx 40 minutes, hike across the fields and vineyards will lead you to the winery Petreto.
Located on a shady hill side, its owners have been producing for a few decades outstanding white wines – one of a kind, very unique production and a pleasant surprise for Tuscany which is worldwide famous for its reds – and a well known Italian Sautern.
In the sunny fields of the estate next to the vineyards, the winery grows the local juicy peaches from Rosano, named after the location.
You will visit the historical cellar where the local Pourriture Noble is aged, the above mentioned local Tuscan Sautern and afterwards you will have a tasting of the white wines selection and of a red from another winery owned by the same family in the Chianti Classico area. The wines will be paired by Tuscan cold cuts, pecorino cheese and bruschettas.
Available every day, all year around.
From 110 Eur per person, 2 people minimum
- HIKE to FONTESANTA, PALAZZACCIO DI MARCIGNANO with VISIT of the historical WINE CELLAR and WINE TASTING with SNACKS at VILLA MEDICEA DI LILLIANO – medium – 5 hours.
- HIKE to the fortified village of MONTISONI with OIL TASTING and SNACKS at the family owned FRANTOIO RETO – easy 3 hours
Easy hike of about 2 hours / 3,5 miles on trails on the hillsides to the west above Antella, with beautiful panoramic views of the countryside and the city that will continue throughout the walk.
This will be followed by a unique experience involving an outstanding quality extra virgin oil tasting at the Reto oil press.
We will meet directly at Frantoio Reto di Montisoni (7/8 min by car from Antella), to start walking uphill through sunny olive groves fields passing by historical farmers’ houses and villas to the medieval fortified village of Montisoni, in a scenic location.
The elevation gain will be about 550 ft on dirt roads, sometimes paved with stone or asphalt.
The fortified village is the highest point of the hike and the descend will be a different way through the woods and afterwards across the olive groves fields owned by Andrea Fiani.
The harvested olives are pressed in his small personal press, which he does not share with other producers and uses only for his own of different varieties.
Andrea will make a brief introduction about the production of his extra virgin olive oil showing and explaining how the pressing process works.
You will then enjoy tasting two kinds his excellent extra virgin olive oil, which has had remarkable reviews in several specialized contests being often awarded as the winner.
Tuscan snacks in combination with the oil that will be served outdoors in the sunny space outside the press or in the tasting room.
Starting from 70 Eur per person, minimum two.
Available every day, morning or afternoon, all year around.
- .HIKING to SAN POLO IN CHIANTI via POGGIO FIRENZE and SASSO SCRITTO with dinner at OFFICINA DELLA BISTECCA in PANZANO IN CHIANTI, the restaurant owned by the famous butcher DARIO CECCHINI – medium difficulty – 5 hours – with cab transfer to/from the restaurant
Apericena in the vineyard
Aperitif and snacks in a local vineyard, really unique!
At sunset we will delight you with the special location of the Capaccio vineyard next to my house, 350 meters above the Arno valley with a spectacular view of Florence and the surrounding hills. On a table placed under a leafy evergreen oak are arranged delicacies of the Tuscan culinary tradition accompanied by wines produced by the owner of the vineyard.
Cooking class or cook with me
Cooking experience at home in my kitchen preparing authentic and typical tuscan dishes
On request I can organize a demonstration and explanation of traditional Tuscan dishes, or you can participate “hands on” in the preparation. After preparing the chosen dishes you can taste them at dinner in my garden.
As this is a personalized activity in a private home, please contact me for more information.
Classic tours and museum visits in Florence
In my long established capacity as a Florentine guide, I will share my expertise with you in your choice of a tour including the most famous museums and sites, experiencing renowned masterpieces, or if you prefer, we can discover the hidden corners of Florence, off the beaten track.
This private tour will be planned according to your personal wishes and is entirely custom made.
I am also available for a food tour or a visit to local artisans’ workshops.